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monthly 

January/February 1998 
VOLUME 21, NUMBER 1 

Publisher: Ruby Lerner 

Editor in Chief: Patricia Thomson 

Managing Editor: Ryan Deussing 

Editorial Assistant: Cassandra Uretz 

Contributing Editors: Lissa Gibbs, Luke Hones, Barbara Bliss 

Osborn, Rob Rownd, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., Tommy Pallotta 

Art Director: Daniel Christmas 

Advertising: Laura D, Davis (212) 807-1400 x225 



National Distribution: Total Circulation 

(Manhattan) (201) 342-6334; 

Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 

Printed in the 0SA by Cadmus Journal Services 

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 
The Independent Film & Video Monthly, 304 Hudson St., NY, NY 10013. 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is published monthly 
except February and September by the Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
(FIVF), a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational foundation dedicated to the promotion of 
video and film Subscription to the magazine ($45/yr individual, $25/yr student; $7 5/yr 
library; $100/yr nonprofit organization; $150/yr business/industry) is included in 
annual membership dues paid to the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers 
(AIVF). the national trade association of individuals involved in independent film and 
video, 304 Hudson St., NY, NY 10013, (212) 807-1400; fax: (212) 463-8519; 
mdependent@aivf.org; http://wwwaivf.org 
Periodical Postage Paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. 

Publication of The Independent is made possible in part with public funds from the 

New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal 

agency. 

Publication of any advertisement in The Independent does not constitute an endorsement. 

AIVF/FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length All contents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film. 
Inc. Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent The Independent is indexed in the Alternative Press 
Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 1998 

AIVF/FIVF staff: Ruby Lerner, executive director, Lafnce Dixon, membership/advocacy 
assistant; Leslie Fields, membership coordinator, Jodi Magee, development consultant; 
Johnny McNair, information services coordinatonMarya Wethers, membership associ- 
ate; Leslie Singer, director of administration. 

AIVF/FIVF legal counsel: Robert I. Freedman, Esq., Leavy, Rosensweig & Hyman 

AIVF/FIVF Board of Directors: Carroll Parrott Blue, Todd Cohen*, Loni Ding (co-presi- 
dent). Barbara Hammer, Ruby Lerner (ex officio), Peter Lewnes, Cynthia Lopez, Jim 
McKay, Diane Markrow (secretary), Laala Matias*, Robb Moss (chair), Robert Richter 
(treasurer), James Schamus*, Barton Weiss (co-president), Susan Wittenberg (vice 
president). 
* FIVf Board of Directors only 



I 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1998 



FEATURES 



33 Credit Check: A Case Study of the International Financing 
of The Port of Last Resort 

A step-by-step study of how the financing came in place for the debut 
documentary feature of Joan Grossman and Paul Rosdy. 

by Rob Sabal 





36 Europa 6: 
U.S. Filmmakers 
Living Abroad 

American indie filmmak- 
ers living and working in 
Europe discuss the pros 
and cons of relocation. 

by Ryan Deussing 



40 The World According to Foreign Sales Agents 

Four top agents talk about the world market and what they look 
for in the films they represent. 

by Sharon Swart 



44 Man of the Hour: Geoffrey Gilmore 

As chief programmer of the Sundance Film Festival, still far and 
away the most important film festival in the U.S., Gilmore gets his 
share of knocks and adulation. In this interview, he talks about 
what the festival has become and where the cutting edge is today. 

BY PAT AUFDERHE1DE 




2 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



International Cofinancing & Sales 

From these shores, Europe seems to offer a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In this issue, we look at what 
producers might actually find in terms of international cofinance, coproduction, and sales. With three features, 
four festival reports, a legal brief, and a field report on the topic, readers will find a variety of perspectives here. 



MEDIA NEWS 

11 NEA Survives 
Act II; Final Curtain 
for Jane Alexander 

With the Senate on its 
side, the NEA wins hy a 
whisker in this last round. 

by Mark J. 
Huisman 

12 Filmmakers 
Fight Censorship 
with Giveaway 

With It's Elementary the 
subject of attack hy anti- 
gay groups, the filmmakers 
embark on a unique strat- 
egy- 

by Emily Neye 



DISTRIBUTOR FAQ 





16 First Look Pictures/Overseas Filmgroup 

Ellen and Robert Little talk about their sales and distribution 
company, which includes works by John Sayles, Tamra Davis, 
Alex Cox, and other indie feature directors. 

BY LlSSA GIBBS 




46 FESTIVALS 
50 CLASSIFIEDS 




FIELD REPORTS 



18 Women, Women, Everywhere 

Female directors — mature, mid-career, and neophytes — blanket 
the Toronto International Film Festival this year. 

by Patricia Thomson 



22 Euro Dollars for Docs: 
Looking to the Old World 

Documentary is thriving in Europe; 
what does that mean for indies 
Stateside.' 

by Bethany Haye 

24 Foreign Treasures 

C lologne, Banff, INPUT, and Karlovy Vary: Four events that 
otter ideal opportunities to find foreign partners. 

by Claus Mueller, Maureen Marovich, Ralph 
Arlyck, and Wanda Bershen 




■ 




■ ;C^^ 



LEGAL BRIEFS 



46 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 

A guide to foreign sales agent agreements 
by Robert L. Seigel 



54 NOTICES 

64 AIVF HAPPENINGS 



Cover: Troy Veinotte as the teenaged Sweet William in The Hanging Garden, by Thorn Fitzgerald, one of the sleeper hits at the Toronto International Film Festival. Photo: C Reardon 



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'...great reading 
for anybody... " 



UTNE READER SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 97 



Newsstand 



Assembling I'tne Reader pro- 
vides many chances to eaves- 
drop on special-interest 
groups and subcultures via 
their magazines and newslet- 
ters. It's a special pleasure 
when one of those publica- 
tions is so well done that it 
jumps out of its niche and 
becomes great reading for 
anybody. Independent Film 
and Video Monthly is just 
such a magazine. Editor-in- 
Chief Patricia Thomson and 
her crew understand the 
inherent drama of small- 



bucks cinema — young ideal- 
ist with a movie camera 
struggles to put a vision on 
film, against scan 7 odds — 
and they infuse their stories 
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emerging artists whose pur- 
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movie making to in-the- 
gallery video art. These peo- 
ple and the other gutsy folks 
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tion to, are part of an under- 
ground so vital that reading 
about them just might get 
you excited about American 
culture again — J.S. 

Independent Film and Video 
Monthly. Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film. 
304 Hudson St., New York, 
NY, 10013; 212/807-1400. 
Subscriptions: $45/yr. (10 
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MEDIA NEWS 



EDITED BY R Y A N DEUSSING 



NEA SURVIVES ACT II 

Final Curtain for Jane Alexander 



■ 



Conservative lawmakers 
lost their latest bid to kill the 
National Endowment for the 
Arts in late October as the 
House and Senate passed an 
appropriations bill containing 
$98 million for the agency in 
fiscal 1998. The victory was 
not only a significant accom- 
plishment for Chairperson 
Jane Alexander, who had 
been wrestling with Congress 
since early spring to keep the 
agency alive, but also some- 
thing of a Capitol miracle 
(the House actually voted to 
kill the NEA entirely in mid- 
July). 

The final wrangling began 
on June 17, when the House 
Interior Appropriations Sub- 
committee approved a bill by 
Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH) 
allocating $10 million tor the 
NEA, to be used for the sole 
purpose i >t closing the agency 
down. But Rep. Sidney Yates 
(D-IL) offered an amend- 
ment which passed, removing 
the language specifying the 
money be used for closing the 
agency. 

On July 10, House Republicans made good 
on a long-standing threat to table any discus- 
sion of NEA funding because the agency is 
not technically authorized to receive funds 
(its authorizing legislation expired three years 
ago). The House Rules Committee, which 
sets the terms of floor debate, introduced a 
"rule" which prevented restoring any NEA 
funds. (In years past, this had been a "pro- 
tected rule," which removed procedural 
restrictions and permitted funding.) Initially, 
there was not enough support to pass the 
rule, so the conservative leadership launched 




a flurry of parliamentary maneuvering and arm- 
twisting. Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) hastily 
offered an amendment to eliminate the NEA 
and cut arts funding to $80 million in block 
grants, with 60% going to local school boards 
(supposedly earmarked for arts education) and 
40% going to local arts agencies. Many 
Republican moderates, like Connecticut's 
Christopher Shays and Nancy Johnson, who 
had long supported the NEA, abandoned the 
agency in hopes of both pleasing their leader- 
ship and being able to claim they had support- 
ed arts funding. Five Democrats — Gary Condit 
(CA), Gene Taylor (MS), James A. Traficant, 
Jr. (OH) and Ralph M. Hall and Charles W. 



Stenholm (TX) — also voted 
yes. But because 15 Repub- 
lican moderates cast votes 
against the amendment, the 
drama continued. Speaker 
Newt Gingrich (R-GA) pulled 
Rep. Jim McHugh (R-NY), 
who had already voted against 
the rule, into the cloak room 
for a brief discussion. 
McHugh then actually 
changed his vote, tipping the 
scale in favor of the leader- 
ship, 217-216. Rep. Phil 
Crane (R-IL) raised a point of 
order, objecting to the appro- 
priations bill because the 
NEA was not authorized to 
receive funding and the $10 
million was immediately 
stripped from the bill. The 
Ehlers proposal itself, howev- 
er, was resoundingly defeated, 
271-155. This had the para- 
doxical effect of preventing 
the death of the NEA hut 
killing all arts funding. The 
entire Interior Appropriations 
bill, with no NEA funding, 
was approved shortly there- 
after by a vote of 238-192. In 
a rare moment of public pique, Alexander 
issued a statement saying, "The endowment 
deserved the opportunity today to receive a 
vote on its merits and did not get one due to 
party politics. We now look to the Senate for a 
fair debate and vote on the future of the 
agency." 

In an immediate challenge to the House, on 
July 22 the Senate Appropriations Committee 
approved continued NEA funding at the FY '97 
level of $99.5 million. On September 18, after 
defeating several Republican amendments 
designed to defund the agency, the Senate 
passed the Interior Appropriations Bill, includ- 



1 



January/February 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N E N T 11 



\ A T IO N A 1. 
EDUCATIONAL 
M E D I A 
N I T WORK 




supporting excellence in 
educational media 



PRESENTS 

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•8 million tor the NEA. On September JO 
the Senate-House conference committee 
agreed to fund the NEA at $98 million for FY 
'98. Because conference committees are widely 
seen as compromise bodies, the final budgetary 
appropriation was widely anticipated to he 
somewhere in the middle, but Senate confer- 
ees, including James Jeffords (R-VT) and Slade 
Gorton (R-WA), held out and prevailed, scor- 
ing perhaps the NEA's single biggest victory of 
the Congressional cycle. 

While the funding level remains essential- 
ly unchanged, NEA rules and procedures are 
not. State allocations will increase from 35 to 
40% and any single state cannot receive more 
than 15 percent of the NEA's total budget 
(New York, for example, has received as much 
as 29% of NEA funds in the past). The NEA 
will now also be required to give priority to pro- 
jects that encourage public knowledge, educa- 
tion, understanding, and appreciation of the 
arts and to grants benefiting underserved popu- 
lations. Both the NEA and the NEH now have 
statutory authority to solicit and invest funds 
from the private sector, something for which 
Alexander and other chairpersons had been 
calling for years. Finally, perhaps the most 
telling change in NEA operations, the National 
Council on the Arts was reduced in size from 
26 to 20, and changed to include, for the first 
time, six members of Congress. Although pro- 
ponents of this change maintain that 
Congressional members will serve only as ex- 
officio, non-voting members, the NEA will 
have its work cut out making sure they do not 
affect the grant-making process. 

Having secured the endowment's survival, 

Chairperson Jane Alexander resigned her post 
on October 8, four years after she took office. 
(At press time, Alexander's successor had not 
been chosen.) Before leaving, Alexander 
unveiled the final report of one of her major ini- 
tiatives, "American Canvas: an Arts Legacy for 
Our Communities." The report (available at 
www.artsendow.gov) contends artists and insti- 
tutions are somewhat responsible for the 
increasing alienation between the arts and the 
public and that such "elitism" had helped make 
recent cuts in federal funding possible. The 
very use of the word "elitism" has caused some 
arts professionals to worry that the report itself 
will give new credence to the criticism leveled 
by Congressional critics during the budget 
process. 

Alexander's tenure was marked by severe 
budget cuts, staff reductions, increased 
Congressional restraints on grant-making, and 



many difficult decisions. Some of her poli- 
tics, including the reorganization of the 
agency and streamlining of its rules, did not 
endear her to artists and institutions. 
Nevertheless, Alexander's fearless steward- 
ship, which came under the harshest, most 
well-planned attacks on the NEA in years, 
was a primary factor in the agency's survival. 
She leaves behind an NEA that, while alive 
and funded, is perhaps more embroiled in 
politics than ever. 

Mark J. Huisman 

Mark]. Huisman [cinemark(" mindspring.com] is 
a New York- based writer and independent producer. 



Filmmakers Fight 
Censorship with Giveaway 

Recent months have seen an increase in 
attacks against producer Helen Cohen and 
Academy Award-winning director Debra 
Chasnoff 's It's Elementary: Talking About Gay 
Issues in School (see The Independent, Oct 
'97). One of the forerunners of a campaign 
to censor the film is the conservative organi- 
zation Concerned Women for America 
(CWA). In a widely- distributed fundraising 
letter, CWA referred to the film as a "mili- 
tant homosexual propaganda effort," an 
"abomination," and an "unspeakable evil" 
that is "recruiting a new generation to 
become homosexuals." 

With It's Elementary, Cohen and Chasnoff 
tackled one of the most controversial topics 
facing primary school educators today and 
did so with a clear goal in mind: to broaden 
school curricula. The film, which recorded 
teachers and students effectively discussing 
gay and lesbian issues, has not only garnered 
the praise of education professionals and 
parents, but has also won numerous awards, 
including the C.I.N.E. Golden Eagle for Best 
Teacher Education Film. The filmmakers 
have also traveled cross-country since the 
film's completion to aggressively promote it 
to teachers and students. In the wake of the 
recent criticism, however, Chasnoff and 
Cohen are finding it increasingly difficult to 
reach even their most supportive audiences. 

Along with CWA, groups such as Focus 
on the Family, the Family Research Council, 
and the Phyllis Schlafley Report have also 
spoken out against the film. The most recent 
blow came from the New York Post, which 
ran an article headlined "Gay Flick Sickens 
Kids Minds," (September 21, 1997) which 



12 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



was syndicated in several other conservative 
publications. 

Rather than giving up, Chasnoff and Cohen 
are giving it away. In response to efforts to keep 
their film out of teachers' hands, the filmmak- 
ers, in conjunction with the Gay, Lesbian, and 
Straight Education Network, are giving away 
copies of It's Elementary to any public school 
superintendent or board member who requests 
one. While their original plan was to donate 




tapes only to financially-strapped schools, the 
recent explosion of criticism has led Chasnoff 
and Cohen to make their film as readily avail* 
able as possible, so people can judge it for them- 
selves. Cohen explains: "We've repeatedly seen 
how our film has helped open up the dialogue 
in hundreds of school communities on an issue 
that most adults aren't sure how to address. 
We'd hate for any school district to miss out on 
this opportunity because ot the vicious rhetoric 
from religious conservatives." 

Since the filmmakers made this unorthodox 
distribution decision, a steady flow of requests 
has poured into their company, Women's 
Educational Media. Chasnoff notes that despite 
the conservative outcry, they "have not seen a 
dent in orders." "The dialogue is happening," 
the director affirmed. As of this year, It's 
Elementary is being used in at least 18 school 
districts, which is where Chasnoff and Cohen 
ultimately measure their success. 

For more information on It's Elementary, con- 
tact Ariella Ben-Dor at (415) 641-4616. 

Emily Neye is an intern at The Independent 





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BY LlSSA GlBBS 

First Look Pictures/Overseas Filmgroup, 8800 Sunset 
Blvd., Suite 302. Los Angeles. CA 90069; (310) 855- 
1199; fax: 855-0719 

What is First Look? 

First Look Pictures (FLP) was established in 1990 to 
assist producers in the development and packaging of 
new projects. In 1993, FLP created a theatrical distribu- 
tion division to package, finance, and distribute theatri- 
cal motion pictures in the U. S. domestic market. 

What is First Look's relationship to Overseas 
Filmgroup? 

FLP is a division of Overseas Filmgroup (OFG). OFG is an 
independent sales and distribution company started 17 
years ago by Ellen and Robert Little which specializes in 
sales representation of independent features in all media 
and all markets worldwide. OFG acquires distribution 
rights to 10 to 15 films per year. Pictures may be 
acquired at any stage; from development, into prepro- 
duction through postproduction and completion, as well 
as through negative pick-up. 

Who is First Look? 

Ellen Little. Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer; 
Robert Little, Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive 
Officer; William Lischak, Chief Operating Officer. Chief 
Financial Officer; M. J. Peckos, Senior Vice President, 
Domestic Distribution & Marketing; Maud Nadler. Vice 
President, Creative Affairs; Dennis O'Connor, Vice 
President. Domestic Marketing & Distribution; Erica 
Potter, Vice President, Domestic Marketing & Publicity. 

The driving philosophy behind First Look is. . . 

to offer a fresh perspective in independent distribution. 

What would people be most surprised to learn about 
First Look or its founders? 

None of us has the same taste. 

How many works are in your collection? 
Thirty. 

Films and filmmakers you distribute: 

Films: The Scent of Green Papaya, The Secret of Roan 
Inish, Antonia's Line. Party Girl, Infinity. The Designated 




Mourner, johns, Different for Girls. Mrs. Dalloway, Bitter 
Sugar. Filmmakers: John Sayles. Marleen Gorris, Leon 
Ichaso. David Hare, Wally Shawn, Matthew Broderick, 
Tamra Davis, Bille August, Roland Emmerich, Alex Cox. 

What types of works do you distribute? 

Feature-length only, all genres, foreign language, cutting 
edge. 

What drives you to acquire the films you do? 

Films that we feel passionate about, would love to mar- 
ket, that have box-office potential, and that make eco- 
nomic sense based on the conditions of the marketplace. 

Does First Look domestically distribute all of 
Overseas Filmgroup produced and/or repped titles? 
No. 77?e Prophecy was distributed by Miramax and 
Richard III by United Artists. 

Is there such a thing as a "First Look" film? 

"Quality" describes our titles the best. Our films are def- 
initely not cookie-cutter material. 

Best known title in your collection: 



Company founders Ellen & Robert Little 



Marleen Gorris's Antonia's Line or John Sayles's The 
Secret of Roan Inish. 

What's your basic approach to releasing a title? 

Strategy, release date, publicity, nurturing, and luck. 

Where do First Look titles generally show? 

In the top 100 markets, in specialized theaters, in multi- 
plexes, and anywhere that puts a sheet up on the wall and 
that makes sense for the film. 

Where do you find your titles, and how should film- 
makers approach you for consideration? 

We find films at festivals like Toronto, Cannes, and 
Sundance, markets like AFM and MIPCOM, and through 
sales agents and agents. Filmmakers are absolutely 
encouraged to approach us directly. 

Range of production budgets of titles in your collec- 
tion: 

From $2-10 million. Sometimes more, sometimes less. 

What's the biggest change you've seen in the distrib- 
ution of independent films over the last 20 years? 



16 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 







Parker Posey as 
Mary in the First 
Look production 
Party Girl. 



Independent English-language films are playing to a 
broader audience, while foreign language films have lost 
some of their vitality. A younger audience is more aware 
of independent films. More money is made available for 
marketing whether or not it makes sense or is appropri- 
ate for a film. 



Mrs. Dalloway. 
with Natascha 
Mcelhone (L, 
as Clarissa) 
and Lena 
Heady (as 
Sally), is one 
of FLP's 
recent fea- 
tures. 

All photos 
courtesy 
Overseas 
Filmgroup 



Do you think the 
label "arthouse 
film" does more 
harm than good 
in the marketing 
of a title in the 
current film- 
going climate? 
We prefer the 
terms "quality," 
"independent," 
"specialized," or 
"niche" to 

describe and mar- 
ket our titles. 

The most important issue facing First Look today 
is.. . 

studios with "independent" films. 

Where will First Look be ten years from now? 

In the twenty-first century. 

You knew that First Look had made it as a company 
when. . . 

We won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language 



Film ior Antonia's Line in 1996 and when 
we received the Entertainment Data Inc. 
(EDI) award for the highest grossing for- 
eign language film — also for Antonia's 
Line in 1996. 

If you weren't distributing films, what 
would you be doing? 

Selling shoes in Rio, brain surgery, work- 
ing at the Gap. 

Another distributor you admire: 

Marcus Hu at Strand. He's made some- 
thing out of nothing. 

The difference between First Look and 
other distributors of independent 
films is . . . 

we try harder. 

Upcoming First Look titles to watch I 
for: 

Marleen Corliss's first English-language 
feature, Mrs. Dalloway, starring Vanessa 
Redgrave; Alegna. the film adaptation of 
Cirque du Soleil's production of the same 
name; lllummata. co-written, directed, 
and starring John Turturro with 
Christopher Walken and Susan 

Sarandon; and Keep the Aspidistra Flying, by Robert 

Bierman. 

Famous last words: 

When choosing a distributor, bigger is not always better. 




Distributor FAQ. is a column conducted by fax ques- 
tionnaire profiling a wide range of distributors of inde- 
pendent film and video. If you are a distributor and want 
to be profiled or are a maker and want to find out more 
about a particular distributor, contact Lissa Gibbs do 
The Independent, 304 Hudson St., 6th ff, NY, NY 10013, 
or drop an e-mail to-. Iissa@sirius.com 

Lissa Gibbs is a contributing editor to The Independent and 
former Film Arts Foundation Fest director. 




I 



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January/February 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 17 



FIELD REPORTS 



I 





Everywhere 



Female Directors Arrive in Droves at the 
Toronto International Film Festival 



by Patricia 
Thomson 

Summing up the Toronto International 
Film Festival calls to mind the story of the 
blind men trying to describe an elephant. "Ah, 
an elephant is long and limber, like a snake," 
said one, touching the elephant's trunk. 
"Hardly. It's flat as a pita, and it flops back and 
forth like a giant wing," said another, pinching 
an ear. "How can you say that. 7 ," said yet 
another as he groped a leg. "An elephant is as 
cylindrical and solid as a tree trunk." 

Toronto is similarly a beast of many dimen- 
sions. It's a festival of glitzy galas and star sight- 
ings, along the lines of Cannes or Venice. It's 
dedicated to serious international arthouse 
cinema, like Berlin or Rotterdam. It's a bustling 
film market. And with 279 films, it subsumes 
countless mini-festivals of Black, gay/lesbian, 
Asian, Latin American, British, and even 
experimental work. Truly this year's 10- day 
event (held September 4-13) offered some- 
thing for everyone — all 2,300 industry atten- 
dees and 700 press, not to mention the gener- 
al public. 

This year the characteristic that popped out 
as big as an elephant's girth was the number of 
features by women directors of serious stature. 
Antonia Bird (Priest), Beeban Kidron (Antonia 
& jane), Marleen Gorris (Antonia s Line), Sally 
Potter [Orlando), and Agnieszka Holland 
(Olivier, Olivier), among others, all had new 
work to present. Some of it was imminently 
forgettable, like Kidron's Swept from the Sea, a 
tale of outcast lovers in a rugged fishing village 
that was a cooker-cutter classic in the "sweep- 
ing romance" mould, o'er brimmin' with blaz- 
ing sunsets and thwarted passions. Some was 
competent but disappointingly pro forma, like 
Bird's Face, a heist-gone-wrong genre pic. But 
some was original, compelling, or on lucky 
days, both. There was Gorris's eponymous ren- 
dition of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, a film 
that gets better as it goes, culminating in a bril- 




liant high-society party sequence that's imbued 
with Woolf's wry observations on upper-class 
ambitions and the pathos of lost ideals. Holland 
brought Washington Square, one of two Henry 
James adaptations appearing at the festival. 
French director Agnes Merlet presented 
Artemisia, the little-known story of the educa- 
tion and doomed love affair of Baroque 
painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the 
determined young woman responsible 
for the masterpiece Judith Beheading 
Holofemes. 

Also in the mix was a lesbian science 
fiction flick (Hillary Brougher's The 
Sticky Fingers of Time); an older 
woman/younger man amour fou (Post 
coitum animal triste, directed by and star- 
ring Brigette Roiian); a look at the 
aftermath of relationship abuse (Erin 
Dignam's Loved); a Black southern 
gothic saga (Kasi Lemmons' Eve's Bayou); and 
an offbeat biography of Ada Lovelace, daughter 
of Romantic poet Lord Byron and author of 
what's considered to be the first computer code 
(Lynn Hershman Leeson's Conceiving Ada). 
Add to that a feminist feature from Tunisia 
(Nadia Fares' much-lauded Honey and Ashes); a 
recut version of Jill Sprecher's temps-in-the- 
workplace drama (Clockwatchers); and the 



macabre directorial debut of photographer 
Cindy Sherman (Office Killer), and you've got 
some sense of the range of work by and about 
women. 

Most prominent of the lot — largely because 
it was alternately the most admired and the 
most reviled — was Sally Potter's The Tango 




Lesson. The film is a lightly fictionalized 
account of the director's recent infatuation 
with tango. (Potter was a dancer and choreog- 
rapher before becoming a filmmaker.) In the 
film, a director named Sally (Sally Potter) stum- 
bles across a tango presentation one night in 
Paris, which prompts her to take lesson;- with 
an Argentinean dancer, Pablo (Pablo Veron). In 
between bouts of writing and pitching a film 



18 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



about the fashion industry, she gets more 
deeply involved with the tango — and with 
her instructor. They strike a deal; if he'll 
make her a bona fide tango dancer, she'll let 
him star in her next film. 

"It's self-indulgent," hiss The Tango 
Lesson's nay-sayers with surprising venom. If 
pressed, many admit they just can't stand the 
sight of Potter. "I wanted to punch her," said 
one. 

Personally, that never occurred to me. I 
found her presence rather winsome and 
engaging, and am convinced that her motives 
for appearing on screen had more to do with 
a director's instincts than a performer's ego. 

"I went with huge trepidation into playing 
in the film," she admits. "But all roads led in 
the same direction. There was a total 
inevitability, finally, about being in the story, 
if it was the story that was eventually told, 
which is one that plays with boxes within 
boxes, with levels of reality. The director 
we're watching on the screen, imagining how 
to turn the life she's living into a film, is in 
fact the one who already has done so, 
because that's the film we're watching. That 
layer wouldn't have been there had it been an 
actress playing the part. 

"Then there was the very practical level: 
Who else was English (to make the maxi- 
mum contrast with Latin American culture), 
about my age (to be a believably 'mature film- 
maker,' as you put it), and also had already 
danced tango at a professional level (to make 
the dance scenes really believable). 7 I'd 
already been on a two-year obsessive crash 
course." 

I don't mind the tact of Potter's presence 
on screen, anymore than I do that ot Ross 
McElwee, Michael Moore, Yvonne Rainer, 
Marcel Ophuls, Spike Lee, Judith Helfand, 
Allie Light . . . the list goes on. If what peo- 
ple are really objecting to is Potter's assump- 
tion that we, too, will be interested in her lat- 
est personal passion, then I guess I'm a suck- 
er for films that are borne ot passion, rather 
than formulas. And I, for one, was downright 
exhilarated during the dance sequences, 
which so effectively capture the exacting, 
tedious, exasperating, humiliating grind ot 
practice and the giddy reward of a flawless 
performance. (The third partner in these 
dance scenes is the balletic camera of DP 
Robby Miiller, who hasn't lost his touch for 
expressive black-and-white photography.) 

The Tango Lesson took it in the chin from 
some of Potter's feminist fans who felt 



betrayed by its lead female character falling for 
a partner who tells her to "follow, always fol- 
low." But what they missed is the film's most 
interesting aspect, which is the way two mature 
adults — each used to leading — learn how to 
negotiate power and control in their relation- 
ship, both on the dance floor and off. That's as 
complicated an act as the fanciest footwork. 

Finally, The Tango Lesson is a meditation on 
filmmaking. It captures the elements usually 
omitted in films-about-tilms: the solitary writer 
scratching out a script, the pitch sessions, and, 
the most invisible part of the process, the birth 
and gestation of an idea. "It's very much about 
a director's eyes," says Potter, "how, by looking 
and listening, you begin to shape your materi- 
al." Far from being a portrait in vanity, The 
Tango Lesson is a rich study of relationships and 




In Lynn Hershman Leeson's Conceiving Ada, Tilda Swinton plays 
Ada Byron Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, and inventor of the 
first computer code. Courtesy filmmaker 



the creative process. And it"> got a beat you can 
dance to. 

Perhaps the only other film at Toronto that 
polarized critics to such .1 degree was Gummo, 
the much-anticipated directorial debut of 
Harmony Korine (screenwriter of Kids). The 
kids are back, but this time the setting is the 
strip-mall Midwest. Set in Xenia, Ohio, the film 
was actually shot in Tennessee (and is thick 
with Southern accents — no minor monkey 
wrench in the works). Once again, Korine 
seems disposed to ipoter le bourgeois, loading his 
film with cat killings, roach-intested squalor, 
and white-trash violence and malaise. While 
there are some memorable scenes and a 13- 
year-old lead (Jacob Reynolds) whose odd face 
is truly transfixing, Gummo ultimately has an 
adolescent's cruel sense of humor. Using only 
four SAG actors, the film is populated by 
"found" characters — an encephalitic black 
dwarf, a retarded woman, and so on. Many 
appear to have stepped straight out of a Diane 
Arbus or Larry Fink photograph. But unlike 
those portraits, Gummo holds up its odd lot for 



all to see, then points and laughs like a snicker- 
ing teenager. While some critics saw poetry and 
bravery in the film, I found that all the easy tar- 
gets got in the way of that view. 

This year the hot new discovery was Thorn 
Fitzgerald, a New Jersey-born director who 
graduated from Cooper Union, then took the 
novel career step of moving to Nova Scotia. 
This first-time director picked up the Air 
Canada People's Choice Award and shared the 
Toronto-City Award tor best Canadian Feature 
for The Hanging Garden, which in turn was 
picked by MGM before the festival's close. 

"Inspirational" is a word that can inspire 
shudders, but this time it's appropriate on sev- 
eral levels. First is the story proper. The film 
focuses on Sweet William, a miserable 350- 
pound boy who grows up to be a healthy, well- 
adjusted gay man. As Fitzgerald writes 
in his director's statement, "I created 
The Hanging Garden to send a message 
to unhappy people that, no matter how 
much you hate your life and yourself in 
the current moment, it is possible to 
become the person you want to be." 
Fitzgerald shows both sides of the coin, 
flipping back and forth between the 
adult who comes home for his sister's 
wedding after a 10-year absence, and 
the adolescent whose suffocatingly 
oppressive family life would drive any 
sane creature over the brink — a raging 
abusive father, a self-martyring mother, 
and a batty grandmother who exposes him after 
his first gay encounter. 

Fitzgerald bravely stuck to his guns when 
some of his hinders balked at the surreal 
metaphors threaded throughout the film, par- 
ticularly the body of fat William hanging by a 
rope from a tree — a vision that the whole fam- 
ily shares. After watching the rough-cut, 
Cineplex Odeon wanted the ending changed so 
that only the adult William sees his former self 
strung up in the garden. But not only did the 
director not have the footage, "I didn't know 
what [the film] would be about," he says. 
"William comes home and recognizes that he 
hurt his family as much as they hurt him. If that 
corpse isn't there hurting them, then he doesn't 
learn that." The funders relented; the 
metaphorical imagery stayed in alongside the 
slice-of-life realism, and a film rich in poetry 
and pain was borne. 

Fitzgerald's own saga as a writer/director is as 
inspirational as William's tale. A Canadian res- 
ident since moving from New York to Halifax 
right after college, he spent years trying to 



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Robin Wright and William Hurt in Loved, Erin 
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Courtesy filmmaker 







develop this first feature. "I did all the tradi- 
tional, stereotypical things," he says. "I lived off 
my mother's credit card for six months. I made 
a development contract with my mother (who 
has a different last name) and pretended she 
was somebody else so I could lobby money out 
of the government 
agencies here. I 

sent the script to • ~ 

_| every distributor in 
Canada, and hard- 
ly any of them 
acknowledged its 
receipt." Potential 
funders kept 

telling Fitzgerald 
(who had only a 
couple of tive- 
minute shorts 
under his belt), 
"You're not a pro- 
ducer." He'd reply, 
"How do you 
know?" None took 
his proposed 

$250,000 budget 
seriously. But after 

persisting for several years, he finally got the 
ball rolling with seed money from the Nova 
Scotia Film Development Corporation and 
Telefilm Canada. Eventually Channel 4 and 
Cineplex Odeon Films Canada joined in, and 
he had his $1.5 million budget ($1 million 
U.S.). "I couldn't raise $250,000, but I could 



raise $1.5 million," he wryly 
observes. 
"I was on a panel yesterday with all 

of these 'hot shuts' — first-time direc- 
tors from around the world," 
Fitzgerald continues. "They kept 
talking about 'the struggle,' the lack 
of resources. 'Oh, we couldn't do 
anything.' I said, 'Well, I guess I was 
relatively spoiled; I'm in Canada and 
I had everything I needed to make 
the film.' Somebody said, 'What was 
everyone's budget?' It turned out 
that all these people who were com- 
plaining about not being able to do 
anything had at least twice the 
amount of money I had, and they 
had Bob Hoskins and Lisa Kudrow 
and all these actors. I thought, 'Well, 
I guess it's just a matter of perspec- 
tive.' " 

If there's one thing Fitzgerald's got 
that he'll need in spades, especially 
now, it's a sense of perspective. By 
the week's end, he had the kind of critical 
buz: publicists would give their eye teeth for. 
Over 100 people had been turned away from 
the industry screening. MGM had inked an 
acquisition deal. Back-to-back interviews 
with an insatiable press were the order of the 



Thorn Fitzgerald (L), director, and the 
young Sweet William (Troy Veinotte, below 
R) with his first love 
(Joel S. Keller) in The Hanging Garden. 

Photos: B. Graham (L) & C. Reardon, 
courtesy Alliance 




day. But Fitzgerald summed up his newfound 
fame with quiet irony: "I'm on Cloud Nine. 
But if you really try to stand on Cloud Nine, 
you plummet to your death, because it is just 
a cloud." 

Patricia Thomson is editor m chiej oj The 

Independent 



20 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



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I 

A worldwide upsurge in documentary slots, specialized distribution companies, and a new multi-million-dollar facility 

to house Marseilles' documentary market — if there was any doubt that documentary is booming globally, Sunny Side 

of the Doc is a proof of just how far the expansion has come. But what's the upshot for U. S. independents? 



by Bethany H a y e 

Sunny Side of the Doc, the international 

documentary market held in Marseilles, and its 
accompanying festival (Vue sur les Docs) have 
returned to their original home, the Pharo 
fortress, after a two-year relocation for some 
renovations. It's clear that the changes, both in 
the venue and in the global documentary mar- 
ket, are spectacular. 

Not so long ago, network program directors 
relaxed at pre -fab stands or sipped rose at a 
makeshift terrace cafe, where commissioning 
editors such as Catherine Lamour of France's 
Canal + held open-door afternoons where 
anyone could walk in and pitch. Today, a 
multi-million-dollar facility sprawls under- 
neath the vast palace lawn, endowed with fully 
equipped stands, modern screening rooms, a 
permanent restaurant, and expanded tele- 
phone and fax service . The mood has gone 
from cosy and intimate to crisp and serious. 
Commissioning editors put in appearances at 
the highly informative and interactive forums, 
but retreat from the crush of proposal-pushers 
for discreet meetings in town. With whom? 
With each other, 



and a proliferation of themat- 
ic channels (for example, the 
History Channel, which also 
programs panels and feature 
films). Also new to the market 
are regional spin-offs of big 
channels, like Discovery 
Europe and financially evolv- 
ing Discovery Latin America, 
and themed offspring of ter- 
restrial nets like TF1 
(France) 's Odyssee, Spain's 
Odisea, and Canada's TFO. 

Mostly interested in 
straight acquisitions, these 
new outlets pay varying per- 
hour rates. Discovery Europe 
averages $5,000 per hour, TV 
Ontario starts at $4,000, 
Ovation starts at $3,500, 
while Brazil's CNA pays 
$1,500. National Geographic, 
Odyssee, and Multicanal pre- 
fer not to set rates and negoti- 
ate on a per-film basis. When 
they do coproduce, the big 




THE WESTERS F.Mr IRE 

dmdta a 

Ha 




and with a few 
heavyweight 
documentary 

producers whose 
resources and 
reputations have 
brought them 
into the inner 
sanctum of inter- 
national produc- 
tion over the past 
10 years. The 
days of the joyous 
free-for-all are over. Documentary has zoomed 
from a cottage industry into a global business. 
This is both good and bad news for film- 
makers and producers. Demand is up. Digital 
image compression has led to niche branding 



channels invest 
sums that range 
from middling 
($40-50,000 for 
Discovery) to low 
(no more than 
$25,000 for Ova- 
tion). Canal -f-'s 
coproduction and 
acquisitions unit, 
DocStar, formed 
five years ago to 
supply its French 
and foreign terres- 
trial and satellite 

channels, will shell out $15 million over the 

next three years. 

Globally, most of the new airtime has come 

from cable and satellite, a lot of it in emerging 



geographical markets: Eastern Europe, Asia, 
and Africa. The bad news is that many of 
these new buyers don't pay very much; an 
average is $1,000 per hour. And though the 
Western European networks are program- 
ming more factual fare, they have not 
increased their budget allotments proportion- 
ally. 

What's more, if demand is up, global pro- 
duction volume is up even more, and the 
hundreds of new shoestring production hous- 
es that have sprouted, many formed by direc- 
tors to produce their own films, must com- 
pete even more fiercely. A side -effect has 
been to make commissioning editors' jobs 
tougher by inundating them with proposals. 

Yves Jeanneau, general director of Les 
Films d'Ici, France's single biggest indepen- 
dent producer of documentary, notes, 



22 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



"[Broadcasters] say this multiplicity creates a 
great wealth of ideas, of projects and talents. 
It's sort of a seedbed. But only a few flowers 
come out of it. In France, each terrestrial 
network receives 
at least two thou- 
sand proposals a 
year, when they 
have about fifty 
slots. It's a night- 
mare for them." 

If documen- 
tary is bounding 
ahead, this is 
because of a fun- 
damental change 
in audience attitudes. The form has long 
since shed its boring and intellectual image, 
even in the eyes of mass audiences, in part 
due to event series like The Civil War and 
popular theatrical releases like 
When We Were Kings. Inter- 
estingly, some program directors 
speculate that documentary's 
resurgence may be due to the 
devaluation of feature films 
which now stuff programming 
grids. Increasingly formulaic 
and effects-obsessed, they often 
lack complex human relations 
and plausible stories, the ulti- 
mate skeleton key to audience satisfaction. 
This is why BBC 2 programmer Nicholas 
Fraser says he always goes for "very intelli- 
gent old-fashioned narrative, momentum... 
real characters" for his newly expanded slot 
Storybill (formerly Fine Cut). 

Still, he cautions foreign companies look- 
ing for a European broadcaster that they 
should coproduce or somehow team up with 
a local partner, through pre-sales, for exam- 
ple. Nearly all programming directors concur 
that this is a must — not only because coun- 
tries like France have quotas requiring a cer- 
tain amount of the grid to be European-pro- 
duced, but because nets prefer to work with 
companies whose work they know and that 
are familiar with the ins and outs of their par- 
ticular national industry. 

Another major development is the 
increasingly important role of large distribu- 
tion companies, such as Europe Images, 
which recently absorbed Amaya Distri- 
bution. Brand new this year, Doc and Co. 
was formed by five independent French doc- 
umentary production companies to distrib- 
ute their programs. The Dutch-American 



The days of the joyous 

free-for-all are over. 

Documentary has zoomed 

from a cottage industry into 

a global business. 



company TV Matters, formerly exclusively vin- 
tage fiction-film distributors, is also acquiring 
documentary in a big way What all these com- 
panies do is process an amorphous mass of 
thousands of hours of 
diverse programming 
into salable packages 
collections and series 
and take the adminis- 
trative and paperwork 
burden off production 
companies that con- 
sign their output to 
them. Since they sell in 
bulk, they can optimize 
the lower-paying mar- 




kets. 

Says Jeanneau of Les Films d'lci, "These 
developing markets, in Asia, Latin America, 
even in Africa (not necessarily African chan- 
nels, hut channels like Discovery, 
Turner Africa, etc.) for the 
moment I see as ancillary mar- 
kets, with prices in the range of 
$1,000 per hour. So, that where 
there was nothing, now there is a 
potential client. That can be 
good tor companies like us, for 
example, who have inventory. . . . 
When a large distributor, like 
Europe Images, Gaumont TV, or 
Canal + Distribution has a client that wants to 
bin a hundred hours, I'm happy it twenty hours 
of mine are in the package. What do I care it [J 
eighty hours are someone else's, or several 
other companies' [Foreign sales] is an arduous, 
cost-incurring job, one that I don't have time to 
do. I'm delighted it a distributor does it tor me." 
Again, smaller companies are having a tough 
time benefiting from this development, as they 
generally do not have enough stock to interest 
the big distributor. Sometimes, however, they 
may be able to place small or highly specialized 
catalogues. "If only two or three hours of theirs 
go into a hundred-hour package, it's still two or 
three hours they wouldn't have sold to the 
Russians," quips Jeanneau. 

The European documentary industry has 
come of age, organized itself, become more pro- 
fessional. Production has consolidated, large- 
scale, very competent distribution companies 
have grown up, and the relationship between 
producers and broadcasters is more structured. 
"There is still great potential for the documen- 
tary," concludes Jeanneau, "and wide new mar- 
kets for it to reach." 

Bethany Haye is a Paris-based journalist. 



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24 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



£4« . ■ 



The Cologne Medienforum 

by Claus Mueller 
Virtually unnoticed in this country, the 

Cologne Medienforum in North-Rhine 
Westphalia, Germany, has rapidly emerged as a 
key European media conference and television 
festival. It has grown into an event with more 
than 5,500 accredited participants, including 
1,100 journalists. Its week-long series of sym- 
posia are of particular interest to independents, 
since they provide up-to-date information on 
emerging markets and new technologies. The 
conference is ideal for networking with princi- 
pal players in the German media scene, as 
senior corporate officials from RTL, SAT 1, 
ARD, ZDF, and Arte are among the regular 
attendees. And the forum provides access to 
one of the most important public funding 
sources outside the United States: the Film 
Foundation of North-Rhine Westphalia. 

For American producers and sellers, 
Germany is crucial, since it is the second largest 
television market in the world and the biggest 
foreign outlet tor U.S. films as of 1995 and tor 
television as well since 1996, due to sales of dig- 
ital television and video rights to the Kirch 
group. (According to the MPAA, Germany sur- 
passes even the UK as a market for U.S. film 
product, generating $309.3 million in 1996, 
versus the UK's $175 million.) Cologne is an 
ideal location for a television conference, being 
home to the largest European public TV sta- 
tion, WDR, and the biggest European commer- 
cial TV network, RTL. Nickelodeon, Vox, 
VIVA, and the radio and television operation 
of Deutsche Welle (the German counterpart to 
the USIA) have their base in Cologne, and 
close to 1,200 companies involved in media 
production and distribution have settled in the 
surrounding region. The German equivalent to 
AIVF, the Verband der Fernseh-, Film- und 
Videowirtschatt, has its office in Cologne, as do 
numerous other professional media associa- 
tions. North-Rhine Westphalia is now the 
source of 25 percent of all German television 
production, compared to seven percent only 
five years ago. 

The Medienforum 

The Medienforum was established in 1991 as 
part of a concerted public policy to reposition 
the North-Rhine Westphalia — a "rust bowl" 
state that had lost its strength with the decline 
of steel and coal industries — towards the 
media, information, and telecommunications 



economy. That policy was largely successful; 
today companies involved with media and 
communication are the third most important 
employment source in North-Rhine 
Westphalia. The Medienforum was organized 
by the Secretary for Economics and Technology 
and the State Broadcast Department in associ- 
ation with the City of Cologne, the NRW Film 
Foundation, and the private sector. In 1997 
sponsoring corporations included RTL, Audi, 
CNN International, NBC, WDR, Sony, Kanal 
4, Sat 1 , Nickelodeon, MTV, and ProSieben. 

Since it is largely backed by public authori- 
ties, political concerns rarely addressed in com- 
mercial venues are still debated here: funding 
modalities tor public broadcasting, media access 
in developing countries, public digital net- 
works, program quality, etc. In the policy areas, 
principal themes were set in keynote speeches 
by prominent politicians. The social democrat- 
ic Prime Minister of North-Rhine Westphalia, 
Johannes Rati, and the European Union's 
Commissioner tor Information and 
Telecommunications Technologies, Martin 
Bangemann, outlined priorities for electronic 
media development, with Rau stressing the 
need tor setting control mechanisms and 
Bangemann pleading tor privatization. 

Over the past seven years, the Medienforum 
has developed from a congress focusing on pol- 
icy debates to a media fair and market with a 
pragmatic orientation. This shift was reflected 
in 1997's theme: "2001 Visionary Space 
Odyssey or Pragmatic Creation of New 
Markets." From June 6-11, 300 German and 
foreign speakers, including numerous 
Americans, covered issues, problems, and 
updates on media policy, television, film, radio, 
and the print media in 160 workshops, sym- 
posia, and panels. A three-day symposium, 
MECON (Media Economy Conference) dealt 
with developments in interactive media, and 
the two-day "Japan Forum" featured political 
and academic experts. The Film Foundation of 
North-Rhine Westphalia held workshops on 
funding, actors as filmmakers, and other 
themes, while the concurrent Cologne 
Conference showcased the best of television. 
"Pitch-Point" was a pilot forum for scriptwriters 
and filmmakers, where they could discuss with 
experts the best way to pitch their projects. It 
will become a full-blown event in 1998. 

In keeping with its political origin, 
Medienforum was accessible to the public. 
Media corporations arranged the Medien- 
buergerfest, a media festival for citizens, which 
served as a two-day warm-up for the 



Medienforum and featured 70 exhibits, with a 
media-career center and 100 hours of live 
shows on 15 sound stages, including the pro- 
duction of television and radio programs 
throughout the old city center of Cologne. An 
estimated crowd of several hundred thousand 
attended the free happenings. Daily passes to 
the Medienforum's exhibit area could be 
bought for as little as $7. This pass allowed 
access to panels on interactive media at 
MECON and presentations staged within the 
exhibit area, which included more than 160 
companies and institutions showcasing their 
products and services. 

The Cologne Conference 

A similar open-door policy prevailed at the 
Cologne Conference, the most visible part of 
the Medienforum. As a largely independent 
part of the Medienforum, the Cologne 
Conference has been organized annually since 
1991 by the prestigious Adolf Grimme 
Institute, with long-term funding by public 
institutions and corporate sponsorship (includ- 
ing Sony, NBC, Variety, and TV Spielfilm). The 
minimal fee of about $20 per ticket opened the 
conference to a cross-section of the Cologne 
population. With this year's attendance 
exceeding 4,000, the Cologne Conference has 
become the largest popular television festival in 
the world. According to its director, Lutz 
Hachmeister, the event is establishing itself as 
the most important mid-size television market 
in Europe. 

Selected from more than 800 submissions 
from 34 countries, the 20 programs were shown 
in two sections: the Top Ten and Spectrum. 
They ranged from market-oriented TV produc- 
tions to superb and controversial documen- 
taries, and generally constituted innovative 
forms of television. (It was the Cologne 
Conference that introduced Twin Peaks and 
NYPD Blue to the German public.) Among 
U.S. productions, the Top 10 included Paul 
Haggis' EZ Street (considered by Variety "the 
most cinematic show on TV") and David 
Nutter's superbly directed "Millenium episode" 
from the X Files, which had the highest debut 
rating in Fox TV history. The Spectrum includ- 
ed Rainbow Man/John 3:16, the first feature- 
length documentary by independent filmmaker 
Sam Green, and The Hamster Factor, an inti- 
mate portrait of the making of Terry Gilliam's 
12 Monkeys by two graduate film students, 
Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe. This year's retro- 
spective section featured the "direct cinema" 
work of D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. 



January/February 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 25 



36th ANN ARBOR 
FILM FESTIVAL 



CALL for 
ENTRIES 

March 17-22, 1998 

Michigan Theater 

16mm Independent and Experimental 
Films of all genres: documentary, 
animation, narrative, & experimental 

awards jury members 

Dominic Angergame, San Francisco based 
experimental filmmaker and Director of 
Canyon Cinema, Jan Krawitz, documentary 
filmmaker and Professor of documentary 
film at Stanford University, and Christopher 
Sullivan, experimental animator and 
Associate Professor of filmmaking at the 
School of the Art Institute of Chicago 

entry fees 

For each film entered: 

$32 US entries 

$37 foreign & Canadian entries 



information 

Call, write, fax or email for 
brochure/entry form 

Ann Arbor Film Festival 

PO Box 8232 

Ann Arbor, Ml 48107 

phone: 313/995-5356 
fax: 313/995-5396 
email: vicki@honeyman.org 
web: http://aafilmfest.org 



$12,000 



PRIZES 
AWARDED 






FILM ENTRY m 

DEADLINE: 
FEBRUARY 15 # 1998 




Television enthusiasts the Medienforum Cologne Conference. 

Photo: Uwe Volkner, courtesy FOX 



funding from public broadcaster ZDF ($3 mill 



The Film Stiftung Nordrhein-Westfaten, 

Germany's largest public regional film foundation, has 
invested $150 million over the last six years in the 
development and production of about 180 projects. 
Financing goes to feature films, international televi- 
sion series, documentaries, training, and distribution. 
For each production dollar received, the recipient 
must spend $1.50 in Nordrhein-Wesphalia. In FY97 
well over $40 million was disbursed to producers; 
close to 35 percent went to international projects. The 
I Film Stiftung is expanding and has received additional 
i in 1997), with more backing anticipated from the commercial sector. The foun- 
dation has supported numerous U.S. productions and coproductions, including Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man, Mira Nair's Kama 
Sutra, Mark Rappaport's Exterior Night, John Schlesinger's The Innocent, Syd MacCartney's The Whipping Boy, Jeremy 
Swan/Michael Kerrigan's The Secret Life of Toys, Michael Lindsay Hogg's Guy, and Chris Bould's Midnight Flight. 

Arte, a French-German upscale channel (also distributed via cable and satellite), programs art and culture in primetime. 
These are the type of productions, frequently international, that have become neglected or even given up by ARD and ZDF in 
primetime, though they're still present on Germany's thriving regional television. In 1997 Arte had a regular audience of 8 mil- 
lion viewers in France and 5.6 million in Germany. Best known are Arte's theme nights, scheduled three nights a week, which 
might combine a feature and a documentary on one issue. American independents have become more prominent in Arte's line- 
up. (According to rumor, one American has adopted French citizenship to have easier access to Arte funds.) Among Arte's 
acquisitions or coproductions involving Americans are Steven Bognar's Personal Belongings, Mark Davis's Rescuing Baby 
Whales, Jonas Mekas's Reminiscences of a Lithuanian Journey, Christine Choy & Nancy Mey-Yu Tong's In the Name of the 
Emperor, Sue Williams' Les Annees Mao and Born Under the Red Flag, as well as several joint ventures with WNET and 
Ovation. The list of Americans whose productions were acquired for theme nights by Arte includes D.A. Pennebaker & Chris 
Hegedus, Michel Negroponte, Susan Todd & Andrew Young, Barbara Kopple, Hal Hartley, Maxi Cohen, and Charles Burnett. 

Kabel 1, a niche channel carried via satellite and cable, aims for a four-percent market-share by positioning itself towards 
upscale programming. To date this has resulted in productions that are peculiar combinations of PBS and Fox-type shows. A 
16-part documentary series Adventure Life, based on the "truth is stranger than fiction" concept, employs well-known German 
public television producers. Interviews with Kabel 1 officials indicate that they would be interested in producing with estab- 
lished U.S. filmmakers. 

Fenster (window) programmers constitute a third force, beside the public and commercial broadcast, satellite, and cable- 
casters. Commercial programmers require licensing from their respective state broadcasting authorities in order to operate. 
Getting a license is easier or sometimes predicated upon providing several hours a week to niche programmers and sharing 
advertising revenue with them. Recently enacted changes in the broadcasting law stipulate that if a commercial channel has 
more than a 10 percent market share, it has to grant about four and a half hours (including 90 minutes in primetime) to an 
independent provider of a "window program" (Fenster Programm). Apart from German New Wave director Alexander Kluge's 
long-running intellectual DCTP (Development Corporation for Television Program), the Cologne-based Kanal 4 is firmly estab- 
lished as one of these window programmers. Kanal 4 was initiated by independent film- and videomakers in NRW with strong 
ties to the German Documentary Association (ag dc). Featured on RTL and Sat 1 several times a week, Kanal 4 frequently pro- 
grams quality material (in stark contrast to its host station). Window programs are organized by Kanal 4 and produced by inde- 
pendents. They are primarily documentaries and magazine- style shows presenting critical cultural perspectives. Both Kluge's 
DCTP and Kanal 4 are potential outlets for the work of U.S. independents, as is the window program Green Peace, carried by 
RTL as of this past fall. 

Medienforum: www.medienforumnrw.tle (program info) 

Landespresseamt: Bettina Hildebrand, 101573.2764@compuserve.com (info about Medienforum) 

NRW Film Stiftung: Helga Binder, info@filmstiftung.de 

Arte:www.arte-tv.com (program info in French & German) 

Kabel L Kl Fernsehen GMBH, Nicolas Paalzon, Nicolas.Paalzon@Kabell.DE ; fax 01 1-49-89 95 07 21 58 

Kanal 4: Juergen Schoen, fax: 011-49-221 2575598 

DCTP: Jakob Krebs, fax: 011-49-211-139-227 

Webovision: www.webovision.com (links to European TV stations & program providers) 

European Audiovisual Information Center www.obs.c-strasbourg.fssr 

(up-dated info on all aspects of European audiovisual production) 

Sofideaa: www.Coproductions.com (comprehensive site aimed at medium & small companies focusing on coproductions, 

investments, jobs, markets, festivals; has bulletin board for locating coproduction partners) 

Mandy's Directory: www.mandy.com (TV & film production data for each European country) — CM. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



On the lighter side, the annual cult progtam 
and party parodied one of Germany's most pop- 
ular television programs, the Grand Prix 
Eurovision de la Chanson, which is a sentimental 
tear-jerker of a pop musak competition. 

In addition to the programs screened during 
the Cologne Conference, accredited partici- 
pants in the Medienforum could access 80 pro- 
ductions in well-organized on-demand screen- 
ings of international television movies, docu- 
mentary series, and feature films. 

For U.S. independents, the Medienforum 
and its associated events are worth the travel 
expenses. Cologne is centrally located, and the 
Medienforum provides crucial access to hin- 
ders, producers, and strategic information. 
Many of the discussions are conducted or 
simulcast in English. In addition, the amhiance 
makes it easy to establish contacts. 

The 1998 Medienforum [www.medienfo- 
rumnrw.de] will be held June 9-17. 

New York-based Claus Mueller teaches media research 
at Hunter College and organizes the annual New York 

Screening Days. 



The Banff 
Television Festival 

by Maureen Marovitch 

It may come as a surprise to many U. S. 
independents that they're missing out on one of 
the largest international TV festivals in North 
America. Less than a dozen American indies 
made it to the 18th Banff Television Festival, 
June 8-14, in the 
Alberta Rocky 
Mountains. That 
left some 1,500 
other international 
players from 

Canada, Europe, 
and Asia hawking, 
planning, commis- 
sioning, and 
acquiring what will 
be seen on next 
year's small screens 
around the world. 

But why should American indies head north 
to a market/festival in, of all places, Canada? 
Why not just track down the players in L.A. 
and New York? The answer is that it's far easi- 
er to meet them here. Sprinkled across several 
ballrooms, conference suites, and an open ter- 
race are the key people from the likes of 




Channel 4, BBC, ZDF, and Canal +, looking 
more relaxed they you'll likely ever see them 
on home turf. You can talk — actually sit down 
and chat — with these decision-makers with 
nary an imposing secretary in sight. 

Commissioning editors from U. S. cable 
channels like Arts & Entertainment, the 
Discovery Channel, and the Movie Network 
were eager to look at proposals. And the 
biggest European channels and distributors 
were hankering for interesting projects to co- 
produce and acquire. Said U.S. documentary 
filmmaker Richard Gordon (The Gate of 
Heavenly Peace), "I'm exhausted from meeting 
people. But I've been able to do more in four 
days than if I had spent three weeks in Paris, 
three in London, and junked around New York 
City." 

Relative to other markets, Banff is smaller 
than the frenetic MIPCOM in France, less 
content-oriented than INPUT, and far less 
star-studded than the Toronto International 
Film Festival. II anything, the broadcastets are 
the stars here. But independents can and do 
make interesting connections and friendships. 
You see them talking up their projects over 
coffee, learning about new funding options, 
and sometimes finding like-minded partners 
for future ventures. With all this conversing, 
the conference area of the swank Banff Springs 
hotel is a constant din. The majestic Rocky 
mountain^, barely get a second glance as mail- 
box slots are repeatedly checked for notes and 
meeting confirmations. Lunch-time is a 
chance tor the lucky few to score a place at the 
"Take a Decision Maker to Lunch" — a spon- 
sored sit-down meal with a key broadcasting 
executive and 
eight other eager 
indies. And then, 
after a day of 
panels and 

forums, there are 
always cocktail 
parties and buffet 
dinners. With all 
this chatter, few 
actually ever 
watch the hun- 
dreds of available 
programs, not 
even the pre-selected award winners, even 
though they are feted on the second day of the 
festival. The dozen screening rooms, open 24 
hours a day for tape requests, are invariably 
deserted. 

But the heart of the festival is the Market 
Simulation, a public pitch spectacle that hap- 



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pen- one morning during the festival. Four indi- 
viduals or teams take the stage before an audi' 
ence ol several hundred on-lookers to pitch 
their project to the 70 or so assembled broad- 
casters. The teams have up to a halt-hour on 
Stage, but you can feel a project catch tire — or 
fizzle out — within the first the minutes. Quick- 
witted emcee and festival director Pat Fern acts 
as executive producer, keeping pitches on track 
and putting broadcasters on the spot. "Yes, hut 
how much in actual dollars and cents will you 
commit.'" he'll insistently ask a cagey commis- 
sioning editor. 

For those willing to put themselves before 
the throng, the awards can be enormous — both 
in visibility and in funding. Toronto producer 
Megan Smith pitched a three -part documen- 
tary series on eccentrics that had broadcasters 
eagerly vying to get in on the action. And 
Vancouver comedy writer/director Ken Hegan's 
pitch for a paranoid comedy feature had the 
audience and broadcasters howling with glee 
and on his side within the first minute. After 
the session, people filed by to congratulate him. 
He soon had a stack of business cards an inch 
high from the likes of the Movie Network, 
CHUM/City TV, and Paradigm Films, not to 
mention job offers to write comedy for several 
American and Canadian shows. 

But all this hobnobbing doesn't come cheap. 
It costs $950 just to get in the door ($700 if you 
book several months in advance). Add on a 
plane ticket to Calgary, Alberta, a shuttle to 
Banff, accommodations, a little mad money and 
you could be investing close to $2,000 for a 
one -week networking orgy. Promising 
Canadian independents have the chance to get 
one of 40 all-expenses paid fellowships, spon- 
sored by CTV Television. But Americans, 
Europeans, and even nominated filmmakers 
must pay their own way and prove their tenac- 
ity. So is really worth it? 

Absolutely, says Ken Hegan. "I took a bus to 
get here last year from Vancouver. I rode 13 
hours, I stayed at a hostel for $20 a night, and I 
came home with $10,000 in work and my first 
paid TV producing gig." Vancouver indie pro- 
ducer Trish Dolman agrees, though she advises 
coming with at least a one-page proposal. But 
at last year's rowdy beef- and beer-laden BBQ 
extravaganza, she scored a free camera package 
from a Vancouver equipment house and 50 per- 
cent off film stock from a group of happy, slight- 
ly drunk Fuji executives. At this festival, enthu- 
siastic party-going is just as essential and lucra- 
tive as dutifully making appointments and 
attending every panel discussion. 



But be forewarned: it you are painfully shy, if 
you absolutely abhor schmoozing, if you can't 
manage at least a little self-promotion and the 
inevitable rejection that comes with it, your 
time is probably better spent at home working. 
Otherwise, you may soon hate the industry — 
and yourself, wondering whatever happened to 
the artistic integrity you thought you once had. 
It's not that this festival isn't about art; the 
annoyingly oft-repeated motto is "excellence, 
innovation, collaboration, and vision." The 
truth, however, is that commerce comes first. 
But if you can stomach that fact and want to 
get your TV productions or films financed, 
scrape your pennies together and circle the 
Banff TV Festival on your calendar. 

Banff Television Festival Gune 7-13, 1998), 

1516 Railway Ave., Canmore, Alberta, Canada 

T1W 1P6; (403) 678-9260; fax: 678-9269; 

www.banfftvfest.com; info(5 banfftvfest.com. 

Maureen Marovitch is a documentary filmmaker living 

in Montreal. 



INPUT 



by Ralph Arlyck 

What producer would want to go to an 
international screening event that has no 
prizes, no press, few buyers, and may not even 
be located near a beach or a ski slope? 

If the event is INPUT (the International 
Public Service Television Conference), it turns 
out that quite a few independents have found it 




Louis Alvarez, center, dines with fellow documentarians Michael Flaster, 
left, and Shannon Livingston during the INPUT Conference in Nantes. 

Courtesy Timed Exposures 



worth the trip. But this annual gathering has to 
insinuate its way into your blood. The question 
then becomes how most people first get 
hooked. 

The majority of INPUT regulars get started 



by having a film invited. If that happens, your 
airfare is usually paid by the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting. You arrive in some city 
(Nantes, France, last May; Guadalajara, 
Mexico, two years ago) where the food and cul- 
tural attractions are probably a notch or two 
above what you've just left, and you are even- 
tually met by a "shop steward" who will lead 
the discussion for the session in which your 
program has been linked to several others. If 
the planners have done their job, the foreign 
programs and yours will be connected not by 
subject matter but by themes that raise chewy 
professional issues. Topics might run along the 
lines of, say, false verite, using the confessional 
mode, substance at the expense of pacing, emo- 
tional cheap shots, sympathy for evil charac- 
ters, or stretching the definition of "prime- 
time." 

You are asked to show up in a certain loca- 
tion on a certain day and suddenly your pro- 
gram pops up on about 20 monitors spread 
around the room in Stonehenge fashion. This 
was the case for Carlos Aparicio who, with his 
partner Susana Aikin, took The Transformation 
to INPUT in Nantes. Their film is about a for- 
mer homeless prostitute transvestite who 
accepts help from a Born Again Christian 
group in an exchange for renunciation of 
homosexuality. 

Aparicio and Aikin briefly introduced their 
movie and later, when the lights came back on, 
survived the customary 20 minutes of close 
questioning and discussion from assembled 
commissioning editors, programmers, and fel- 
low producers from around the 
globe. (Post-screening exchanges 
at INPUT can be intense, since 
the objective is to tackle difficult 
creative and ethical issues. 
Comments of the "I-loved-your- 
movie" or "What-was-your- 
shooting-ratio" variety are dis- 
couraged. Aparicio and Aikin 
then spent the rest of the week 
looking at work from other coun- 
tries and meeting other delegates. 
"It was absolutely fantastic," says 
Aparicio. "We had just been to 
Berlin [International Film 
Festival's market] and that had 
been really hard work — selling your 
product constantly, eyeing your fellow filmmak- 
ers in a state of high competitiveness. But in 
Nantes it was extremely relaxed. We got to see 
interesting stuff from all over and to meet the 
makers. 



28 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



"Most of the foreign delegates we met work 
closely with institutions, and they seemed real- 
ly shocked to hear how many of us operate over 
here — doing everything ourselves, credit-card 
financing, the horror stories. It seemed to be 
two completely different ways of working, and it 
was interesting to compare notes." 

Aparicio also reports that, despite spending 
the week in a non-selling mode, he and Aikin 
were approached by several buyers and that 
those encounters eventually led to two 
European sales. 

Scott Sinkler may hold the all-time U. S. 
record for sales growing out of a single INPUT 
screening. His Inside Life Outside, about a squat- 
ter community in New York City, was shown in 
Stockholm in '89. After the session he found 
himself surrounded by a gaggle of European 
broadcasters. One bought the program on the 
spot and in the next few months he made fol- 
low-up sales to Germany, Sweden, Belgium, 
France, and the Netherlands. Sinkler went 
back to the Montreal INPUT in '94 as a dele- 
gate. 

For most independents, the financial results 
are neither as dramatic nor as immediate. It you 
go with the primary goal ot making foreign TV 
sales or putting together an international co- 
production, you'll probably be disappointed. 
INPUT is neither a festival nor a market. It's 
more of a re-charging station, a five-day break 
from American production myopia in which 
what you screen and what yam talk about chal- 
lenge your ways ot thinking about film and tele- ^ 
vision. The conference also tends to draw U. S. 
public television people (from both Washington 
and around the country) who are interested in 
independent work of all genres. 

As with all such multi-day film gatherings, 
there comes that inevitable moment when you 
tind yourself alone and thinking, "Who should 
I go meet next and, more importantly, what am 
I doing here in the first place?" But such 
moments tend to be minimized at INPUT 
because it is an event that has content (the 
screenings and discussions). And as you go 
back in subsequent years, you have the pleasure 
of reconnecting with other regulars. 

Producers who stay connected to INPUT 
discover that it is, in fact, a lot more than an 
annual conference; it may be, in Arlo Guthrie's 
terms, "a movement" — for the reformation of 
television, no less. The organization runs train- 
ing workshops in the Third World, has an 
archive, a Website <http://ourworld. Compu- 
Serve. com/homepages/INPUT_Public_TV > , 
and is considering publication of a magazine. 



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The I . S. selection Cakes place in November. 
Nine or 10 Americans (independents, and peo- 
ple from CPU, PBS, and the stations) spend 
three days in South Carolina looking for 
provocative work and accepting about 17 of the 
I50-some submissions. About halt ot those 
make it through the international selection in 
Italy in February, which is run by the same shop 
stewards who lead the discussions at the con- 
ference itself. 

It you do the math, you'll notice that your 
chances ot having your program selected are 
about 20 to 1 (no worse odds than those for 
most grants or festivals). But anyone who is 
willing to pav his or her own expenses can go to 
the conference. There is no registration fee. 
Next year's event is Stuttgart, Germany, May 
10-16. In '99 it will be in Fort Worth, Texas. 
For information about submitting a program or 
attending the event, contact: Terry Pound, 
INPUT Secretariat, South Carolina ETV, 1101 
George Rogers Blvd., Columbia, SC 29211; 
(803) 737-3434; fax; 737-3435; pound® 
scetv.org. 

Ralph Arhck is an INPUT shop steward and member 
of the board, and an indeperident producer. 



Karlovy Vary 

by Wanda Bershen 

One of the most established film events in 
the former Eastern 
bloc, the Karlovy 
Vary International 
Film Festival (July 
4-12) has regained 
its "A" status from 
FIAPFE this year (its 
39th) and reinvent- 
ed itself as an ener- 
getic and ambitious 
international event. 
Taking place in the 
favorite spa town of 
Hapsburg Emperor 
Frederick the Great, 
the festival trans- 
forms this elegant 
West Bohemian vil- 
lage into a place 
brimming with 

young audiences, 
movie stars, a large 
press corps, and an 
impressive list of 



invited guests. 

What's more, with a new program director 
(Eva Zaoralova) and management team (presi- 
dent Jiri Bartoska and general director Rudolf 
Biermann), and committed corporate sponsors 
(Philip Morris, Chemapol, SPT Telecom, 
Transgas, and the main Czech bank), Karlovy 
Vary is on its way to becoming the major place 
to tap into Central Europe's developing market 
for the production and distribution of both film 
and television. 

Biermann, himself a successful producer 
(The Garden and Orbis Pictus), is focused on 
increasing the numbers of sales agents, distrib- 
utors, and international press in attendance 
and making international production and co- 
production essential areas of development for 
the festival. Discussions have been held with 
the American Feature Market about recom- 
mendations for a tormal market; this year there 
was a small area for buyers and sellers to set up 
booths and arrange meetings with potential 
clients. In addition, Stefan Uhrik and Hana 
Cielova, directors of the impressive Inter- 
national Forum of Independents, advise local 
distributors about independent films and in 
1996 established a Buyers/Sellers desk for these 
"smaller" films. By underwriting subtitling for 
several films each year, the Forum creates the 
conditions for the new smaller distributors in 
Eastern Europe to acquire independent produc- 
tions. Films that received theatrical distribution 
in the last couple of years include SubUrbia 



(Richard Linklater), Box of Moonlight (Tom 
DeCillo), and Trees Lounge (Steve Buscemi). 

Urich and Cielova also host Filmopolis, a 
monthly television program that includes 
international festival reports and an annual 
episode "Focus on American Indies." There 
is a growing audience for U. S. indie films via 
the new private TV channels (which can 
afford to run a film like Fargo within a year of 
its release), as well as the two Czech public 
channels, which have whetted audiences' 
appetite for U. S. productions with their 
Woody Allen and Robert Altman series. 

American indies have already gained a 
large following at the festival proper as a 
result of Uhrik and Cielova's work at the 
Forum. Begun in 1992 and a key part of the 
festival since 1995, the Forum has included 
the likes of Hal Hartley, Jim Jarmusch, and 
the Coen Brothers, as well as such interna- 
tional directors as Jane Campion, Wong Kar- 
Wai, Aki Kaurismaki, and Atom Egoyan. 
This year's special presentation at the Forum 
was three films by Errol Morris, including 
Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control, which drew 
packed houses with lively discussions after 
each screening. Easily as quirky and fascinat- 
ing as his films, Morris was clearly a hit with 
the young audience. 

Another lure, in addition to the burgeon- 
ing market, are Karlovy Vary's prizes. At the 
center of the festival (which this year includ- 
ed more than 250 films in 11 sections) is an 




30 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



International Competition with a first prize of 
$20,000 (which went to Alain Berliner's Ma vie 
en rose) and a special award of $10,000 (David 
Trueha's The Good Life). There are also prizes 
for Audience Favorite, FIPRESCI, and best 
documentary ($5,000). In addition to the 
Forum, other sections include New Czech Film, 
East of West (contemporary work from former 
Socialist countries), and retrospectives. 

New films by young Czech directors, often 
produced with TV funds, signal a new pool of 
talent and energy. The Audience Favorite and 
Best Actor prizes went to Forgotten Light, a 
Czech feature by director Vladimir Michalek 
with the kind of dry humor, complex charac- 
ters, and underlying seriousness familiar from 
the films of Jiri Menzel or Milos Forman in the 
sixties. 

The Czech Republic, like Poland and 
Hungary, is working hard to transform itself 
into a modern capitalist economy, with the 
media industries a major part of that. In the tew 
years since the end of Communism, the TV and 
film industries have been restructured, with the 
formerly state-controlled systems now 
public/private partnerships. American compa- 
nies with deep pockets, like Time Warner, have 
cable operations up and running already in 
Prague, Budapest, and Warsaw and are begin- 
ning to co-produce locally and regionally. A 
Central European channel, ALFA-TV, man- 
aged and funded as a regional initiative, has 
hired Alan Fountain, former commissioning 
editor for Independent Film at the UK's 
Channel 4, to work with them in designing 
their program schedule. 

At the closing night ceremony, President 
Havel offered some characteristically eloquent 
remarks on the meaning of statehood, citing 
the outpouring of aid to the flood- damaged 
regions in southern Czechoslovakia as a sign of 
the "civic solidarity" now flourishing in the new 
post-Communist democracy. That spirit was 
certainly visible in the hordes of film students 
jamming the screenings of Czech films (this 
journalist had to sit on the floor more than 
once), and in the festival's ability to re -invent 
itself completely in a few short years. It was vis- 
ible, as well, in the amazing ovation that greet- 
ed director Milos Forman as he received a 
Lifetime Achievement Award on home 
ground — something virtually unimaginable 
only eight years ago. 

Wanda Bershen was director of the Jewish Museum's 
Broadcast Archive and Intenuitioiial Film Festival from 
1989 to J 995. She established Red Diaper Productions 
in J 995 to work with international film aiid TV as an 
independent programmer, distributor, production consul- 
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BLOWNUP FROM S16MM NEGATIVE 



A European Jewish refugee rides a rickshaw through 1940s Shanghai. 

Photo: Paolo Vescia, all photos courtesy Pinball Films 




The single biggest question thai every aspiring independent] pro- 
ducer wants answered is, "Where can I yet the money to make my 
film?" The frequent suggestion is to look .it the financing credits on 
comparable films, then seek funding from the same sources. 

This article checks the financing credits of The Part <>j Last Resort, a 
documentary about the 20,000 Jewish refugees from Central Europe 
who escaped to Shanghai in the years leading Up to World War II. It 
details the path that first-time feature 'documentary producers Joan 
Grossman and Paul Rosdy took as they sought to answer the financing 
question tor themselves. 

The Concept 

Proving again that the best ideas are encountered by accident, the pro- 
ducers discovered the little-known history of the Shanghai refugees 
during a visit to Grossman's family. A family friend, Ernest Heppner, 
had written a book based on his experiences as a refugee in Shanghai. 
He mentioned to Grossman that he knew of no significant films on this 
facet of Jewish history. (This year, Ulrike Ottinger came out with her 
four-and-a-half hour opus, Exile Shanghai.) In the summer of 1993, 
Grossman read the book prior to its publication. At this time, he and 
Rosdy were seeking funding for several other films, so they did not 
immediately commit to the refugee project. 

When in Austria a year later, Grossman met with Kurt Jetmar of the 
production company MR Films in Vienna to pitch the idea of a film on 
Americans in Prague. Jetmar was friendly and generous with his time, 
but "clearly not really excited" by the idea, Grossman reports. On the 
way out the door, Grossman had the presence of mind to mention the 



Shanghai concept. The veil of disinterest lifted and the two talked tor 
another 20 minutes. Although Jetmar never took on the project in any 
formal way, his reaction was critical. It encouraged Rosdy and 
( rrossman to commit to researching the project and raising production 
funds. 

Development Funds 

The key to funding The Port <>) Last Resort was the collaboration 
between Grossman and Rosdy, an American and an Austrian. By 
assembling a combination of government loans and subsidies, corpo- 
rate underwriting, foundation grants, and television pre-sales in 
Europe and North America, the producers were able to raise a total 
budget that would not have been forthcoming from either continent 
alone. About one -third of the funding came from American sources, 
and two-thirds came from Europe. 

As a resourceful producer, Rosdy 's job is to know the funding pools 
in Europe. He began the search with Documentary, one of the pro- 
grams found under the umbrella of MEDIA, the European Union's 
Audio Visual Sector. The MEDIA I program (which in 1996 was 
replaced by MEDIA II, administered in Brussels) provided interest-free 
loans to European independent producers for 50 percent of a project's 
development costs. Three-quarters of MEDIA I's loans were provided 
during development and the other quarter on the first day of produc- 
tion. The loan is payable six months from the beginning of production, 
with the assumption that it will be repaid out of production funds. If 
the project never goes into production, the loan is excused. The Port of 
Last Resort received about $10,000 from Documentary in early 1995, 



January/February 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 33 



the first contribution to the pro- 
ject. 

Kurt Jetmar of MR Films, who 
had responded so enthusiastically 
to the idea tor the film, helped 
Rosdy prepare a proposal to the 
Austrian Film Commission of 
the Ministry of Arts and 
Sciences foi a work stipend 
in November 1994. Rosdy 
received a modest $6,800 
stipend in April 1995, which the 
filmmakers applied toward devel- 
opment. 

The Wiener Stadtische 
Versicherung is a large insurance 
company in Vienna that is well 
known in Austria as a major arts 
sponsor. Rosdy approached them 
with a proposal, and in exchange 
for a credit in the film the compa- 
ny contributed $2,500 towards 
development and will provide 
another $2,500 after the film is 
completed. 



C/?EDIT/?0/.£ 



Production Funds: U.S. 



The Port of Last Resort 

Documentary: European MEDIA program development loan. 

$13,500, which equals 50% of the development budget; 

i 75% awarded at outset, then 25% awarded on the ^ 

first day of production. 

Austrian Film Commission of the Ministry of Arts and Sciences 
$6,800 work stipend awarded in April 1995 

Wiener Stadtische Versicherung Insurance Company (Austria) 

$5,000 awarded in June 1995 in exchange for credit and logo on 

publicity materials: $2,500 up front and $2,500 after t 

^— - he film is finished. — 

Arthur Ross Foundation 

$10,000 pledge once $180,00 had been raised (August 1995) 

Film Commission of the Ministry of Science, Transportation, 

and Art (Austria) J 

$90,000 awarded in April 1996 1 

"Innovation Pot" Subsidy (Austria) 
$90,000 awarded in July 1996 

HBO/Cinemax 

Pre-sale for Cinemax Reel Life series made in September 1996 



Production Funds: Europe 

The first major European produc- 
tion grant came from the Film 
Commission of the Ministry of 

Science, Transportation, and Art in April, 1996. This 
government agency does not provide funding to individuals, so 
Rosdy and Grossman had to form a co-production partnership with 
an established Austrian production company. 
Rosdy contacted Lukas Stepanik of Extrafilm, a 
producer he had met at the Shanghai Film Festival, 
in order to seek his involvement. Stepanik was 
excited by the content of the film. And since it is 
often difficult for Austrian documentaries to reach 
an international audience, Stepanik was also excit- 
ed by the organization of the project as an 
American/Austrian co-production. While a formal 
agreement is still being negotiated, Extrafilm will 
have some ownership stake in the project, as well as 
receiving compensation for expenses. 

The benefit of attaching The Port of Last Resort 
to an established production company is that it 
opened up opportunities for greater funding. 
Extrafilm applied to the "Innovation Pot," a subsi- 
dized television pre-sale program set up between 
the Austrian Film Institute and Austrian television 
station ORE The concept behind the "Innovation 
Pot" is to support smaller, individually produced 
Austrian projects that already have a significant 
amount of funding in place. The Port of Last Resort 
received about $100,000 from this funding pool in 
July 1996. 



Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. 

$33,500 committed in October 1996 



(Dollar amounts are approximate.) 





Raising money in the United 
States proved much more diffi- 
cult. Grossman and Rosdy applied 
for all of the usual public grants: 
National Endowment for the 
Humanities, New York Council 
for the Arts, New York Council 
tor the Humanities, and 
Independent Television Service. 
Although they received some pos- 
itive feedback from panelists and 
program administrators, none of 
these sources provided any fund- 
ing. 

Next, the producers turned their 
attention to private foundations. 
Their initial research, utilizing the 
CD-ROM database at the 
Foundation Center in New York, 
yielded only a handful of founda- 
tions that identify themselves as 
supportive of projects related to 
Jewish history and also indicate a 
willingness to fund media. 
Grossman decided to go against 
the conventional wisdom of care- 
fully targeting foundations and 
instead cast a wide net, contact- 
ing any foundation that indicated 
a funding philosophy in concert with any facet of 
The Port of Last Resort. She also identified potential donors 
by reading the credits on already completed programs. The Jewish 
Heritage series, for instance, which aired on PBS, 
yielded a number of names. 

Grossman sent out more than 200 one -page solic- 
itation letters and received about 15 requests for 
additional information. When a foundation 
expressed further interest, she followed up with a 
three-page project description and budget. As the 
project progressed, Grossman maintained communi- 
cation with the foundations. 

The Arthur Ross Foundation was the first to 
commit to some level of production funding. When 
major development activities had been completed, 
the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation 
requested a script and a copy of the trailer that the 
team had produced. Based on these materials, they 
decided to support the project. Neither foundation 
was willing to commit early in the project's develop- 
ment. The Ross Foundation pledged support of 
$10,000 after $180,000 was raised, and the 
Weinberg Foundation indicated it would contribute 
after "a substantial amount of funding was in place." 
The profiles published in the Foundation Directory 
indicate that neither the Ross nor the Weinberg 
Foundation accept unsolicited requests for support. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 




Yet Grossman's results make clear that it is possible for an 
unsolicited application to gain the attention of the foun- 
dation's administration. Gail Lloyd of the Ross 
Foundation indicated that while the foundation does 
not usually support filmmaking, Mr. Ross found the 
story of the Shanghai refugees historically significant 
and decided to help fund the project because there is 
very little material published or produced on this his- 
torical event. According to Grossman, Weinberg 
Foundation president Bernard Siegel personally knew several 
Shanghai refugees and so was interested in the subject. While this may 
seem serendipitous, it indicates that there are real people at these 
foundations who have interests that may align with a producer's. 

In June 1996, Rosdy attended the Sunny Side of the Doc film mar- 
ket in Marseilles. Grossman had faxed those U. S. companies send- 
ing representatives, informing them about the status 
of the project and inviting them to visit with Rosdy. 
Rosdy met with Jon Moss, at that time Director of 
Documentary Programming at HBO/Cinemax. 
While he was interested in acquiring the film, Moss 
indicated that the completion funding required was 
more than what HBO could provide. But once the 
"Innovation Pot" funds were secured, HBO/Cinemax 

was able to provide finishing funds in order 

to acquire The Port of Last Resort for the ( I II M 

Reel Life series. V V V/ ll 



www.austria.org 

check Federal Ministry of Science, 
Transportation, and the Arts (in German) 

www.mac.cicv.fr/real/ 

For detailed information on 

country-by-country funding, check under 

"financement european" 



Moss (who has since left HBO and is now an inde- 
pendent producer's representative in New York) was 
excited about the project because the Shanghai story 
is a new facet of an otherwise well-known and well- 
documented historical period, and because it includes 
archival material never previously presented in a doc- 
umentary on World War II. HBO has ;i tradition of 
special programs related to World War II and tbe 
Holocaust, and Moss felt The Port of Last Resort con- 
tinued and extended this tradition. 

According to John Hoffman, the current Director 
of Documentary Programming, in order for a film to be 
considered for Reel Life it must have the potential to 
win festival awards, gain positive press reviews, and 
receive other forms of critical acclaim. What people at 
HBO respond to is "filmmakers who have access," 
Hoffman indicates, especially access to a subculture or 
unique archival materials. The Port of Last Resort fulfilled 
the programming objectives of Reel Life and consequen 
HBO/Cinemax provided the funds necessary for the project's 
completion in exchange for an 18-month exhibition window. 



Creative Development 

With the money from the Documentary program and the Film 
Commission of the Ministry of Arts and Sciences, the producers began 
searching for archival materials. They attended a conference on the 
Shanghai refugees in Salzburg where some initial interviews were 
videotaped. These interviews and the information they uncovered led 
to one of the most important aesthetic decisions, the choice not to use 
narration but to utilize the voices of the refugees — either in interviews 
or through voice-over performances of their letters, diaries, and reflec- 



tions. 

After a research trip to Shanghai in October 1995, 
Grossman and Rosdy wrote a script and constructed an 8- 
minute trailer, which combines interviews shot on video in 
Salzburg, super-8 film footage shot in Shanghai, and VHS 
preview tapes of archival film materials. While this was clear- 
ly a sketch, assembled on a cuts-only VHS edit system for 
$500, the power of the idea was evident. 
There is a great deal of passionate debate about the usefulness 
of a trailer. In this case, it was critical to the project's success. 
Although skilled, these two filmmakers were essentially unknown first- 
timers. While someone with an established reputation might eschew a 
trailer, in this case it provided the kind of evidence flinders were seek- 
ing that Grossman and Rosdy were going to be able 
to actualize this idea. According to Jon Moss, the 
trailer was critical for HBO's funding. Even though 
it did not have high production values, the trailer 
demonstrated the substance of the program and 
provided a feel tor what would finally exist in the 60- 
minute film. This allowed Moss to sell the project 
internally, providing convincing evidence to those 
inside HBO with decision-making authority that the 
film was appropriate for Reel Lije. 
The trailer was essential for the produc- 
ers as well. First, it gave them an oppor- 
tunity to evaluate the aesthetic choices 
they were making. Second, it substantiated the claim 
that the piece was "in production." It showed the 
archival footage, the recently recorded Super-8 film, 
and the video interviews. There was no doubt that 
production was underway. Nothing else is as attrac- 
tive to a potential funder than knowing there is 
progress toward the end goal. The greater the 
progress, the smaller the risk. 

There are practical and budgetary issues related to 
coproductions tor European/American television. The 
primary issue is with formats. This explains, in part, 
Grossman's and Rosdy's decision to produce on 16mm 
film rather than on video. By finishing on film, the pro- 
ducers could fulfill their obligation to supply original 
masters to both American (NTSC) and Austrian 
(PAL) television. 

Language is another issue. Grossman and Rosdy did all 

the development work in English. Then Rosdy rewrote 

e proposals into German for presentation to European 

funding agencies. The final version of the film will be no 

exception. Once the English version is completed, the Austrian 

version will need to be crafted, requiring translation of both acted 

and interview materials. 

The Port of Last Resort will be completed toward the end of 1997. 

Critical to its success is that Rosdy lives in Austria and Grossman lives 

in New York. Using the knowledge and resources that each have, they 

were able to piece together sufficient funds to cover the entire project. 

Here again is proof that it can be done. 

Rob Sabal is a filmmaker who last wrote about the distribution of his film Indian 
Summer in the August/September J 996 issue. This article was prepared with the 

assistance of Joanna Sabal. 



The Foundation Center 

79 Fifth Ave. 

New York, NY 10003-3076 

(212) 620-4230 

(800) 424-9836 

fax: (212) 807-3677 

www.fdncenter.org 

Arthur Ross Foundation, Inc. 
20 E. 74th St., 4-C 
New York, NY 10021 

Contact: Arthur Ross, president 
(212) 737-7311 

The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg 
Foundation, Inc. 

5518 Baltimore National Pike 

Baltimore, M0 21228 

Contact: Bernard Siegel, president 

(410) 744-6142 




January/February 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 35 




SIX U.S. FILMMAKERS 
LIVING ABROAD 

by Ryan Deussing 

While the European film industry has become more 
like its American counterpart in recent years, in many 
regards it's still a world apart. This article profiles six 
American independents working in Europe, where 
they've found a home away from home. 

Andrew Horn, Berlin. 

Long after his junior thesis film at New York University was nominated 

tor an Academy Award, Andrew Horn is still making films, though he's 
thousands of miles from his native New York City. Since 1989, when he 

traveled to 
then-Wes t 
Germany on a 
scholarship, 
Horn has 

been living in 
Berlin as a 
filmmaker 
and journal- 
ist, working 
on projects 
ranging from 
German soap 
opera to doc- 
umentaries 
about the lost 
world of socialist 
popular entertain- 
ment. His most 
recent project, East Side Story, is a 
made-to-order example of the opportunities and chal- 
lenges that face American independent filmmakers who have pulled up 
stakes and relocated to Europe — either tor a change of scenery or in the 
hope of finding an environment hospitable to their own particular breed of 
filmmaking. 




"Obviously it 1 hadn't been living here I never 
would have gotten the idea to make East Side 
Siory," Horn explains. The film, which docu- 
ments the rise and fall of the socialist musical 
^^ ^^^^m film in the former Eastern Bloc, was inspired 
^ ^^^^H by screenings of films from the East German 

^m ^^^^H Film Archives that took place in Berlin just 

after the fall of the wall. "I was very surprised 
to see that the lifestyle portrayed in these films 
is very human and funny and not at all back- 
ward or gray," he says. East Side Story has surprised audiences as well, 
most of whom appreciate the humor inherent in "singing tractor drivers, 
dancing pig farmers, and socialist summer fantasies set to hip-swiveling 
Eastern European rock music" (to quote the film's press kit). German audi- 
ences, however, have been less quick to laugh. 

On the one hand, some former East Germans have been put off by the 
idea of "western" filmmakers making a light-hearted film about the cultur- 
al products of a society they were not a part of. Horn explains that the film 
has attracted criticism from the East amounting to "you're from the West: 
how could you possibly know what happened?" (This despite the fact that 
the film, which Horn wrote and produced, was directed by Dana Ranga, a 
Romanian.) Critics from former West Germany have also proven difficult 
to please. "We had a lot of problems from the West, which I think is 
because they don't really want to hear about the former East Germany and 
maybe never really did." German reluctance to dig up the past is echoed 
by the fact that the first interest in East Side Story came from French and 
British television, and only after the European Union MEDIA II funding 
program (which allocates approximately $300 million for the production 
and distribution of European film and television projects) agreed to pro- 
vide research funds did German money get involved. [http://europa. 
eu.int/en/comm/dgl0/avpolicy/nx'dia/en/home-m2.html] 

Though the existence of subsidies and state -financed television makes 
the process of developing a project in Europe unlike that in America, Horn 
is careful to point out that different does not always mean better. "The big 
challenge is that I've found Germans aren't as open minded as I originally 
thought," he explains. "They don't have a lot of underground filmmaking 
here the way I knew it in New York. And when you suggest certain ways 
to sort of bulldoze your way through a seemingly impossible situation, they 
tell you not to think like an American, you can't do things like that here. 
Of course, under no circumstances can one listen to this kind of advice. 

"Another myth that needs debunking is the one that in Europe they're 
interested in 'art'," Horn continues. "It seems the age of the European art 
film that not only wins awards but also brings people into theaters is over, 
and there's an ongoing identity crisis fueled in large part by the dominance 
of Hollywood." One important exception to this rule, according to Horn, 
is the deep-pocketed German/French broadcaster Arte, which is dedicat- 
ed to arts programming and is a crucial resource for many European pro- 
ductions. 

Reflecting on his experience as a filmmaker and emigre, Horn suggests 
that there's a lot to be gained from a change in circumstances. "I won't say 
that by being here I was able to escape the problems of being an indepen- 
dent in the U.S., but being here does present a whole new set of problems 
that maybe seem a little easier to deal with or just seem more acceptable 
because they're different." 



36 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



From Pain Is..., Jane Weiner's 
latest European project. The 
producer at work (inset). 

Photo: Jay Matthews. 
Courtesy filmmaker 




Another key aspect of Weiner's success is that once she decided to live 
in Paris, she made a genuine commitment to staying and making things 
work. "Lots of Americans show up here and stay for a time," she explains. 
"Then they get fed up and leave." She's also found that over time, her 
European colleagues have become more accepting, to a degree. "You're 
always the 'the American', which isn't always a compliment." 

While living in France, Weiner still works a good deal with American 
independents at home. "I've the advantage of living between two worlds," 
she explains. "Sometimes that's to my advantage, but sometimes not. It's 
hard to be in two places at once." 



Andrea Weiss, London. 



Jane Weiner, Paris. 



Though she's worked in Franci for over 

10 years and lived there year-round since 1992, Jane Weiner main- 
tains that she's only recently gotten her toot in the door as a Paris-based 
writer, director, and producer. In tact, she says it was a while before living 
in France had a positive effect on her career. "As long as 1 was a New Yorker 
who spent a lot ot time in Paris, I was very useful and bankable to 
Europeans, but as soon as I moved here I became useless. At least the per- 
ception was that I was no longer connected to New York, even though I 
was travelling back and forth .is much .is ever." 

Weiner is most prolific as a producer and has worked with filmmakers 
such as Peter Friedman, Michel Negroponte, and Richard Leacock on films 
tor broadcasters ranging from the RRt! to Arte. She's currently finishing 
production on Pom Is..., an experimental documentary by American direc- 
tor Stephen Dwoskin (who, incidentally, has lived in England tor 55 years). 
Unlike Horn, who started his own production company after a tew unhap- 
py experiences relying on German ones, Weiner lias always found it useful 
to cooperate with "native" producers. "I make it a point to work with pro- 
ducers and production companies in whichever country I'm making a 
film," she says. "They speak the language, they know how things work, and 
they know who is who and where to get good deals. 
It also makes for good relations, because I'm seen 
as a coproducer and not as a competitor." 

She's careful to point out that subtle, yet 
important differences exist between the film 
industries in neighboring European countries. 
"The different working habits in each culture- 
are the biggest challenge," she explains. 
"These things are sometimes so subtle that 
they're not readily evident even it you're 
fluent in the language. What's considered k 
'professional' isn't the same in each cul- 
ture." Weiner also advises that indepen- 
dents from the U.S. need to be ready to adapt 
to new circumstances: "One must drop the idea that the 
'best' way to work is the American way, since that doesn't matter to any- 
one outside of the U.S.." 



TOGETHER WITH HER TARTNBR GRETA SCHIIXER, ANDREA WEISS HAS BEBN 

overseas on and ofl since 1991, when the two decided it was time to get out 

ot New York tor a while. "For us, that meant either San Francisco or 
London, and we chose London. It just happened to be in Europe (or near 
Europe, which is how the Brits tend to think of it)." The biggest effect the 
move had on their careers, says Weiss, was that it inspired them to finish 
then film Paris Was w Woman against all odds. "We were driven in a way 
that we might not have been had we stayed in New York, since the subject 
ol women's creativity and voluntary exile had become such a big part ot our 
own lives." The two now split their time between New York and London, 
depending on their work schedules. 



Gertrude Stein (r) and Alice B. Toklas walk 

the walk in Paris Was a Woman; Andrea 

Weiss (inset). Courtesy filmmakers 




Weiss points out that Paris Was a Woman, a documentary about the 
largely lesbian circle of female artists, writers, and publishers who flocked 
to Paris in the 1920s, is an example ot an American independent film made 
in Europe. "It's American in that we made it from a lot ot small funding 
sources added together, we deferred payments and begged favors, and we 



January/February 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 37 



didn't have a commissioning editor looking over our shoulders." 
Production also began despite the fact that they never raised the full 

financing, and the filmmakers arc now 
paying ofi debts a bit .it a tune. "It all the 
commissioning editors in Britain turned 
down their project, [British indepen- 
dents] would simply shove it in the 
drawer and not do it." 
The European and American indus- 
tries are "apples and oranges," s.iv^ 
Weiss. "The Brits always think 
things look better in the States 




(because of the groveling they have to do to commissioning editors here), 
and Americans think Britain is the land of milk and honey because of 
Channel Four." In tact, Weiss and Schiller benefited from their production 
company's incorporation in New York (they received grants from New York 
State Council tor the Arts and the New York Council for the Humanities) , 
as well as their presence in London (through association with a British 
company, they were able to tap into MEDIA funds). 

"Each funding situation is different," says Weiss. For my most recent 
film, A Bit of Scarlet, I worked with another production company and 



received funding from Channel Four and the British Film Institute, which 
would not have seen Jezebel Productions as suitably British when I started 
it years ago." The BFI has put some money into one of Jezebel's current 
projects, however, leading Weiss to posit that "our hybrid identity doesn't 
seem to bother them anymore." 

Weiss advises independents looking to establish themselves in Europe 
to "attend the European conferences, particularly [Rotterdam's] CineMart 
(tor tiction) and the Amsterdam Forum (for documentary)" While it's not 
very likely that your project will immediately take off, Weiss says the expe- 
rience of meeting people and seeing how things work is immensely valu- 
able. "Also, it's incredibly difficult to get innovative, challenging films 
made anywhere in the world, so it's not a good idea to talk to European 
filmmakers as though they have it made — -it will only annoy them." 



Michael Benson, Ljubljana. 



Far from the media centers of London, Paris, and Berlin, Michael 
Benson nevertheless finds his position in Ljubljana (yes, that's the capital 
of Slovenia) rather well suited to his purposes. Benson says he grew up as 
"Foreign Service spawn" (his father was a U.S. diplomat), and lived, at 
various times, in both the USSR and the former Yugoslavia. Though 
Benson is formally based in New York (along with his company, Kinetikon 
Pictures), it's to his advantage to spend the bulk of his time in Europe, 
where he has a working arrangement with TV Slovenia, which copro- 
duced his first feature-length documentary, Predictions of Fire [see 
"Talking Heads," March 1997]. 

"This allows me to utilize the facilities and personnel ot TV Slovenia, 
making films that have an international scope, while still applying for 
stateside grants, some of which require U.S. residency," he explains. 
Benson's latest project, which was shot mostly in the U.S., made it to 
postproduction with the help of grants from the Soros Documentary Film 
Fund and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Post production and 
additional shooting will be done at TV Slovenia. "So, partly as a result of 
financing, I lead a kind of bipolar, schizophrenic existence. Luckily I like 
that kind of life." 

Though Benson's relationship with TV Slovenia is immensely helpful, 
he has also experienced the difficulty of raising funds in a country that 
doesn't have the resources of France or Germany. "There's a definite dis- 
advantage to being an American when it comes to applying for state 
funds in Eastern Europe," he explains. "The countries in the region have 
an incredibly hard time scraping together funding for deserving local film- 
makers. So there's a lot of pressure not to be too supportive of foreign 
filmmakers, as you can imagine." 

Being in the "East" also raises concerns when it comes to production. 

"In former socialist countries things can be much cheaper, but you end up 

paying in time, and quite frequently in technical quality as well. In New 

York I know that for a certain large sum of money I'll get reasonably fast 

and efficient lab or sound work, for example. In this region speed is rare, 

and technical quality, when you can find it, is more a function ot innate 

professionalism than profit motive." 

"Unfortunately, there's a sense of being under siege hanging over inde- 
pendent film production in the East, in the so-called 'countries in transi- 
tion.' When the wall fell, sources of state support simply dried up, and the- 
aters started to show nothing but Hollywood product. So there's very little 
of the 'can-do' spirit and optimism you'll find in the U.S., though excellent 
films continue to be made in Eastern Europe, against all odds." 



38 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1998 




Jason Springarn-Koff and his 
thesis video, Abducted. 

Courtesy filmmaker 




Jason 

Springarn- 
Koff, Berlin. 

When Abducted, his thesis 
video at Brown, was accept- 
ed by the Berlin Videofest 
ifter it was rejected from sev- 
eral American festivals, 
Jason Springarn-Koff 
started to think that 
maybe his audience was 
in Europe. After a period 
of working in New York 
as an editor and digital 
cts artist, he finally decided 
to "quit my job, break my lease, 
and move" to Berlin. 

Not everything has gone as smoothly as he'd hoped. "Germany has a 
very serious unemployment problem, and they're very reluctant to 'let' 
Americans work," he says. "The U.S. consulate said that I'd have 'hardly a 
chance' of getting legal permission to work here." 

Language has also proven difficult. "I've studied German tor a tew years, 
but the film industry, with all of its specialization, require-- a very sophisti- 
cated vocabulary." He warns that basing a strong command of the lan- 
guage is crucial. "It you don't, you might find yourself very frustrated and 
embarrassed." 

After a difficult start, he's recently found steady work with a DOStpro- 
duction studio. "People with my skills and training — especially those 
who've worked in NYC — are very welcome here. I suppose that I might be 
one of the top After Effects artists here, where in New York I was mid- 
level." 



Ondine Rarey, Munich. 



Tfcc 



Unlike filmmakers who have relocated to Europe after cutting their 
teeth in the States, Ondine Rarey chose to get her start at a European film 
school. Now in her third year of the documentary program at the Munich 
Hochschule fur Film und Fernsehen (HFF), she's finishing production on 
her tirst feature project, Fools and Heroes. The film, about her grandfathers' 
experiences as artists during WWII, is being produced with funds from the 
school, as well as with an investment from Bavarian Television. 

Attending film school in Germany has its benefits. "School costs about 
$25 a semester, and the HFF Munich has an incredible technical depart- 
ment," she explains. "In addition, each student is entitled to funding for 
each film they make. These funds range from $3,500 for the first film to 
$16,000 tor the final project. School funding can also be used as seed 
money, which makes it easier to get investors interested in your project." 
By combining her own school funding with that of her collaborators, Rarey 
was able to finance her film's first stages of production without plunging 
into credit-card debt. 

"The main advantage of working in Germany is state-supported TV. 
The two state networks seem to be constantly on the lookout tor filmmak- 
ers with good ideas. Producers need filmmakers about as much filmmakers 
need them." 

Rarey is seriously considering leaving Germany before her time at school 
is officially over, however. "There really isn't enough to make films about 
here. Everything works. It's terrifically organized and everyone recycles." 
She thinks that the prevalence of social strife and the many obstacles fac- 
ing documentary filmmakers m America makes tor better filmmaking, in 
the long run. "American filmmakers have a dedication and a passion that 
European filmmakers often lack," she says. 

"There's ahn a certain cynicism afoot here that's hard to get 
used to. Mosi people don't care how 
great your topic is 
or what an impor- 
tant film you're 




trying to make. There's money and 
prestige at stake, and that's what's 
important to many people in the field, 
even in documentary." 

Ryan Deussing is managing editor of 
The Independent 



January/February 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 39 



by Sharon Swart 

Unless yoi 'ki will versed in the intricate i \\ strlk h rlsofthl 
world's major media-consuming nations and know your way around 
the harried international him and TV markets, it is advised that you 
find a foreign sales agent to facilitate distribution of your project out- 
side the United States. Collecting revenues trom overseas theatrical, 
video, pay, and tree TV is a Herculean undertaking and is best lett to 
the pros. 

Simply choosing a sales agent can be challenging on its own. Most 
familiar with the process suggest considering a company that has expe- 
rience selling projects similar to your own. Check with other filmmak- 
ers and find .1 reputable outfit that has a track record and a good num- 
ber of satisfied producers that can sing its praises. Quiz those who have 
gone before on everything from advances to payment habits and mar- 
keting expenditures. You'll be asked to pick up some or all of the costs 
associated with marketing your him to foreign buyers and seeing it 
through distribution; make sure you know the price. If foreign sales 
agents get involved in pre-selling or packaging your project, they're 
likely to require a producer fee and a credit. The American Film 
Marketing Association, the trade organization that puts on the 
American Film Market each winter, should be able to provide general 
information on member sales companies as well as contracts and other 
legal questions. [AFMA, 10850 Wilshire Blvd., 9 fl., LA, CA 90024; 



Alliance Independent Films 

Backstory: The indie feature sales division of the Canadian film 
and TV conglomerate is headed by Charlotte Mickie. A nine-year 
Alliance executive, Mickie handles sales and marketing for Alliance- 
produced specialty films as well as a number of other projects. AIF is 
known tor handling top-notch Canadian indie features, such as The 
Sweet Hereafter by Atom Egoyan and The Hanging Garden by Thorn 
Fitzgerald. It recently branched out to acquire overseas rights to U. S. 
independent productions. AIF's first U. S. project was Hal Salwen's 
Denise Qz/!s Up, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995. 
"The film was a real hit in Cannes with enormous buzz," says Mickie. 
"It opened a lot of doors for us, in fact, floodgates." Other American 
films AIF has ushered abroad include Todd Solondz's Welcome to the 
Dollhuuse, Greg Mottola's The Daytrippers, and Todd Verow's Frisk. 

What works: AIF targets films with a marketing hook that also 
have the potential to he received critically in a theatrical release. Neil 
LaBute's In the Company of Men, says Mickie, was ideal in that it trav- 
eled to the major festivals and could be sold as a Dangerous Liaisons for 
the nineties. When considering projects for representation, Mickie 
looks for an up-and-coming cast, an appealing script, and a young 
filmmaker with a bit of a pedigree. Submissions with a detailed cover- 
sheet work best, she says. 

Market view: Territories fluctuate all the time, notes Mickie. For 

specialty films, Spain 



W specialty uniis, opam 

orld Accord ing 



(310) 446-1000; fax: 446-1600; info(a afma.com; <www.afma.com>] 
Keep in mind that finding a fit for your film is paramount and that most 
deals will vary from project to project. 

Here, we profile four foreign sales companies with different tastes 
and strengths. We also asked the company principals to assess the over- 
seas marketplace as it relates to their business. 




and Italy are current 

hotspots, thanks to heated competition at the pay-TV level. "The 
market for films I sell is extremely stable," she says. "But, of course, not 
all films are going to succeed." 



CS Associates 

Backstory: Foreign sales vet Charles Schuerhoff describes himself 
as "a well-kept secret." Some 17 years ago — after launching a foreign 
sales operation for Boston's public broadcaster WGBH — Schuerhoff 
struck out on his own and started hawking documentary programming 
to territories around the globe via his bicoastal (Boston and Mill 
Valley, California) CS Associates. The company primarily focuses on 
television fare, and Schuerhoff has intentionally kept CS small to be 
able to be personally involved in all programming it represents. The 
outfit has repped such WGBH series as Frontline as well as series, 
shorts, and one-offs from other producers. Frontline episodes have sold 
to more than 30 countries, and associations with such directors as Ken 
Burns (The Civil War) continue to be fruitful. CS recently sealed a deal 
with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for the complete Burns 
library. 

What works: While most of CS's product comes from repeat 
sources, it is open to representing works from new producers. 
Schuerhoff notes that top contenders would ideally have a strong 
track record and/or have a project about a unique must-have subject. 
He generally looks for programming for which he can predict a mar- 
ket. Of late, that has meant topical nonfiction subjects that tie into 
specific current-affairs developments around the globe. For example. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 




Tabloid Truth: The Michael Jackson Scandal, a feature documentary ana- 
lyzing tabloid broadcast journalism, logged particularly strong sales 
overseas. CS prefers dealing with finished product but will consider 
getting aboard earlier depending on the project. (Bonus tip: 
Schuerhoff has been trying to develop .1 series on the tyranny of beau- 
ty and disfigurement in a beauty-driven society. It he had his druthers, 
it would be hosted by Dustin Hoffman, who's apparently 



of Leni Riefenstahl. In addition to a venerable chest of festival darlings, 
Films Transit commands a growing catalog of TV docs in the one -hour 
range. 

What gives: Films Transit will look at projects in the various stages 
of development, from an idea to a rough-cut during production or a 
final cut. It the idea is high-profile and timely, Rofekamp says it is 
worth it for him to get involved early on. This allows him to consult 
with the filmmaker on length and cither considerations that ideally 
result in quicker and more lucrative pickups. A current project about 
the controversy surrounding cigarette smoking was ramped up at the 
idea stage, and Rotekamp helped broker presales in Germany and the 
UK. Rofekamp is also eager to continue to add to his cinema specialty 
catalog. He recently made a deal to rep a 50-minute documentary on 
Danish director Lars von Trier and has Hitchcock m Hollywood in the 
pipeline with producer Michael Epstein (The Battle Over ( ".itizen Kane) 
from PBS's American Masters strand. From the same series, Rofekamp 
has high hopes tor Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart, by Timothy 
Greenfield-Sanders, and Man Ray: Prophet oj the Avant Garde, by Mel 
Stuart. 

Market view: The world is split into two distinct markers, contends 
Rotekamp. "There's the old world where documentaries are still a part 
of primetime television, and there's the whole new world of cable and 
satellite broadcasting." Outlets such as Discovery International, Bravo 
Latin America, and the ever-expanding Canal + in Europe are sprout- 
ing thematic channels for which documentary programming is swept up 
en masse. The trend is lowering the price per hour and pushing docs from 
primetime. 



it would be hosted by Dustin Hoffman, who s apparently ■ ^^ 

to Foreign sales Agents 



quite articulate on the subject after his turn as an aesthetically 
challenged dame in Tootsie. If you have a Hoffman connection, you 
could be in business.) 

Market view: Europe, the English-speaking markets, and Japan 
remain steady, says Schuerhoff! France is a strong market tor docs, but 
Germany and the United Kingdom have waned recently. While more- 
broadcasters are interested in documentary programming, they are 
smaller outlets that pay less. Demand tor nature and wildlife continues, 
but it is increasingly difficult to find strong material as powerful buyers 
(BBC, Canal +) are also suppliers. And the emphasis on entertain- 
ment values worldwide has made "less accessible" subjects harder to 
place — even with the most publicly-oriented channels. 

Films Transit International 

Backstory: Films Transit's Jan Rotekamp started distributing educa- 
tional independent documentaries in the Netherlands in 1972. Ten 
years later, he moved to Canada and switched his focus to interna- 
tional sales. His company's first big breakthrough came in 1987 when 
Miramax purchased its first film from Rofekamp, the Canadian feature 
I Heard the Mermaids Singing. The Montreal-based Films Transit has 
since moved away from fiction and cobbled together a strong reputa- 
tion for handling high-profile feature documentaries. Accoladed titles 
include The Battle over Citizen Kane, The Celluloid Closet, Crumb, 
Manufacturing Consent, Silverlake Life, and The Wonderful Horrible Life 




January/February 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 41 



digital film 



Your image 

is everything 






We just make it look good. 

Film Resolution 
Scanning & 
Recording 

35mm Academy 
Full Frame 
Vista Vision 
Cinemascope 

16mm 16 • Super 16 

Computer Titles 

Titles and credits to any 
35mm • 16mm • Sl6mm gate 

Digital-to-Film 

D-l to Film Link transforms 
video and digital media to any 
35mm • 16mm ■ Sl6mm gate 

Digital Blow-Up 

35mm original negative 
from 16mm • Sl6mm 

Stills 

4x5 transparencies and negatives 
slides • C&R prints -from video 
computer • cine scans 




Good Machine International 

Backstory: The New York-based indie feature film company headed hy producers James 
Schamus and Ted Hope started out small, producing and peddling the early works of Ang Lee 
and Hal Hartley, among others. Since the phenomenal success of Lee's The Wedding Banquet in 
1993, Ciood Machine's profile has skyrocketed and its leverage increased accordingly. They've 
worked with an impressive roster of indie directors, including Todd Havnes, Tom Kalin, Raul 
Ruiz, Jan Oxenberg, Jill Godmilow, Nicole Holofcener, Tom Noonan, and Ed Bums. This year 
the company grew a foreign sales arm to keep up with the competition and to continue to have 




a hand in how their films are distributed worldwide. (For domestic distribution, Good Machine 
has a firstdook deal with Fox Searchlight Pictures.) The division is headed by Miramax's former 
head of international sales, David Linde, who has also taken on the challenge of selling the 
October Films slate overseas as a separate label alongside Good Machine International. Linde 
says he additionally expects to rep about three films a year from outside producers. Current crit- 
ical favorites The Ice Storm, by Ang Lee, and The Apostle, by Robert Duvall, are on Good 
Machine's slate. Film budgets for GMI projects this year range from $250,000 to $35 million 
says Linde. 

What works: GMI is looking to represent auteur-driven theatrical product in the vein of 
Good Machine and October Films tare. Strength of the director, cast, and originality of mater- 
ial are key components GMI will be looking for when choosing outside projects. 

Market view: For specialty films, Europe is still a strong market, reports Linde. Asia is under- 
going changes, but GMI is still making sales in the area. Linde predicts that as Asian economies 
stabilize in the next year, the Asian market will structurally be much larger because of ongoing 
multiplex development in the region. 

Sharon Swart was international editor for special issues at the Hollywood Reporter and is currently the London- 
based European features editor for Variety. 



42 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 





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January/February 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 43 



r^^^^ E< >FFRE1 GlLM( >R£ HAS BEO »M£ S( »ME THING 

*~~ o\ an institution m t/if. world 0/ independent 

cinema. The program director oj the 
Sundance Film Festival since April 1990, 
■"■"• Giimore is, inr/i /us hand-picked sta/jf; rite 

arbiter oj the festival's programming. Each 
'^^^^^^^^P year he views 300 /tlms, samples 300 more, 
hears about others, and ends up choosing 
about 125 for a festival that also features panels, juries, and retrospective 
celebrations He attracts the kirtd of resentment and fascination that accrue 
to people who say "no" dozens oj times for every "yes." He looks, too, like 
someone' perpetually under siege, with his intense gaze, edgy, rapid-fire 
speech, and quick ability to make connections and to defend decisions. These 
days Giimore is seen by many independents, for better or worse, as their step- 
ping stone to celebrity and studio distribution. It is easy to forget his contin- 
uing passion for independent cinema as a 
vital social art form, and the fact that he 
spent many years grappling with issues of 
exhibition and framing aesthetics in film 
culture as programmer of the University of 
California at Los Angeles' cinematheque 
until 1996. 

On a whirlwind visit to Washington, 
D.C., Giimore spoke with The 
Independent about the evolution of 
Sundance, the state of independent cinema, 
and the fate of film culture. 




characterized by stories about people nobody in a studio deemed wor- 
thy of attention. These days, it's like a cartoon I recently saw in the 
New Yorker, where one pompous fool says to another, "I'm gonna make 
the first $100 million independent film." 

Independent film has certainly come into the sphere of megamedia. 
Yes, and is there any real difference between smaller distributors like 
Miramax, New Line, and Gramercy and the larger studios that are 
their parent companies.' That said, one doesn't want to lose the dis- 
tinction between studio and independent films. In the six weeks 
between Memorial Day and July 4, the studios released 15 films that 
cost $100 million or more each in marketing and production costs, few 
of which will succeed. I caught the head of a major studio saying that 
creativity had ceased to be a major issue. The synergy between the 
film's release and the release of the CD and other ancillary products 
had become much more critical. The toy line is more important than 
whether a story is memorable. So there is a difference between that 

and an independent film, even if it 
cost $15 million. 

There's something about the power 
of commercial enterprise to pull 
everything into its realm that also 
bastardizes it. It turns culture itself 
into commodity. That's the impor- 
tance of institutions like Sundance. 
There has to be a realm, not entirely 
outside commercial determination 
but not directly commodified. That's 
the terrain of a festival. But it's an in- 
between space. I often feel frustrated. 




I 



) J 



IcSfST 



Sundance's Geoff Giimore 

by Pat Aufderheide 



Independent film has changed dramatically since Sundance began, and it seems like 
Sundance has had a major role in that process. 

What Sundance has seen, and helped to create, is the emergence of a 
mainstream independent cinema. Ten years ago, the biggest thing 
about independent film was how difficult it was to see. One of the 
objectives of launching the festival was to build a platform for it, help 
legitimate it for theatrical release. We've created a monster, in a way. 

A monster? 

Now independent film is being judged by its commercial success, not 
by its aesthetic daring or narrative quality. Not only at Sundance, but 
at Toronto, Cannes, and other festivals, you walk out of a film, some- 
times with critics on either side of you, and the first thing someone says 
is, "That film is not going to make a dime." That's not what I came to 
this for. Independent film has its roots in storytelling, in regional work 



Don't you consider an industry framework in your Sundance selections? 
Sometimes we do, but in most cases, no. We have an enormous range 
of constituencies. This year we're instituting technical and pragmatic 
changes. One of them is giving each program a home, so that each 
theater focuses on one part of the program. Dramatic films, documen- 
tary, world films, American Spectrum, premieres — each has one the- 
ater. It'll help ticketing and some complaints about the scattered 
nature of the festival. Maybe I can even cut down on the marketing 
mentality, by making it harder to jump out of one theater and see a 
half hour of the next film. Also, one of our current discussions is how 
to establish a critics' prize. I'm interested in a critical viewpoint that 
can highlight the most aesthetically innovative film, the film that took 
the biggest risk creatively. 

Some people say you're not really looking for a range of creative risk, that there's a 
Sundance-type film: a little politically correct, a little crunchy granola, regional, slow. 



44 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



That used to be the stereotype of independent cinema, but I don't 
think that ethos exists in the same way anymore. You have a much 
more advanced and sophisticated filmmaking community existing all 
over, not just bicoastally. The tools of filmmaking have become that 
much more available, even to small communities. The granola region- 
al stuff isn't what Sundance is about anymore. We've had a lot of dis- 
cussion about films that might be considered politically incorrect, like 
Chasing Amy, which won't be embraced by the gay and lesbian com- 
munity. A film like Eye of God, which focuses on spirituality and faith, 
isn't granola. Much of the documentary work comes from a progressive 
vision, but 1 don't think it's a simplistic ideological vision, partly 
because I think ideology in the U.S. is so confused, and it shows up in 
the films. 

Do you think that low-end technology has affected a younger generation? 

Over the last decade you have come to be able to make films for almost 

nothing. It's not just that El Maruichi was shot tor a negative cost oi 

$7,000 cash, but it was done in a way that 

no one told him he couldn't do it. That 

inspired other filmmakers. They often got 

things for free, deferred costs, using models 

that didn't exist 20 years ago. There's no 

inherent virtue in poverty, of course. No 

resources doesn't guarantee imagination. 

The beleaguered filmmaker with no 

resources who tells a story full of truth and 

power and emotional impact — that's the 

exception and always has been. 

I always look for a certain level of aspi- 
ration from a storyteller and filmmaker. 
Too often it's at a fairly low level. People 
get tired of vicariously experiencing some- 
one's twenty-something alienation. The 
attack on the archetype of the indepen- 
dent film recently boils down to "We're 
tired of self-indulgence." You have film- 
makers who want to ride a trend and con- 
quer the world with an arrogance and lack of sophistication that does- 
n't get them very tar. 

Where, for you, is the aesthetic edge, the energy, in independent film? 
Well, independent film is not is a reducible term. It's diversity, by def- 
inition. But where I have seen a lot of exciting new work is m gay and 
lesbian productions, in the telling of personal stories, especially in doc- 
umentaries, and in strong scripts. 

You've programmed a lot of personal documentaries in the last few years. 
This surely is one of the major aesthetic trends, the evolution of the 
subjective, personal documentary. Last year at Sundance, half the doc- 
umentaries submitted were told from a subjective point of view. 

There's always controversy over Sundance's documentary choices and the fact that you 
require that they be on film, not video. 

The festival focuses on documentaries that have viability in theaters, 
not television. One of the things Sundance is saying is that documen- 
tary as film has gotten too little visibility. We are trying to disprove the 
myth that documentaries are somehow less interesting. But it's still 
true that the audience is pretty limited. We need programming in arts 
institutions, as well as leadership in whatever's left of an intelligentsia 
in this country. But media arts institutions are in a financial crunch 



Independent film 

has its roots in 

storytelling, 

in regional work 

characterized by 

stories about 

people nobody 

in a studio deemed 

worthy of attention. 



themselves. And film schools have lagged in both art and commerce. 
I'm teaching a course on independent production at UCLA, a course 
that had never been taught. 

What is the idea behind the retrospectives and international work? 

One of the reasons we do retrospectives now is to reintroduce people 
we think have been ignored. I worry about a kind of illiteracy among a 
lot of filmmakers. We've done Arthur Perm, William Wellman, 
Fassbinder. I wanted people, for instance, to see how Fassbinder was 
one of the greatest influences on eighties independents, the ways he 
broke the rules. 

International work is important to us. One of the reasons the festi- 
val has grown so rapidly has been the discovery of films like Shine at the 
festival. We'll continue to give visibility to a broader international per- 
spective. But I have no illusions that it will defeat the parochialism 
that's endemic — the worst it's been in 20 years. 

Sundance ends up playing many roles, and some people think you guys take up so much 
space there isn't much room for anyone else. 
It's very important that there not be just 
one gatekeeper. It puts too much of a bur- 
den on us, to say nothing about how people 
then look to us. There are not enough 
developed alternatives to Sundance, 
although I think they're coming. We need a 
teal market, although the Independent 
Feature Project functions somewhat that 
way. The New York Film Festival, Toronto, 
Telluride and the San Francisco Film 
Festival to some degree also work. The tall 
festivals are often critical of us because peo- 
ple hold their films for us. We're [now 
doing] an early submission process, so peo- 
ple who do want to hold their films for 
Sundance can get as quick an answer as 
possible. Spring festivals — the Los Angeles 
Independent Film Festival and South by 
Southwest — have really prospered, though, because they're the alter- 
native to us. 

What about the cross-feeding between the festival and the Sundance Institute? 
Film> that are developed around the Sundance Institute don't neces- 
sarily get into the festival. That's not to say there's no crossover. Alison 
Anders, Gregg Araki, Quentin Ttrantino had been at the Institute. 
And sometimes people will come out of the festival and go to the 
Institute. It's talent and happenstance. 

There's a line drawn here between the nonprofit center and the 
profit-making centers, like the Sundance Catalog. There's the 
Sundance Channel, a cable and satellite pay channel, a way to give a 
platform to films that haven't found a release. And we're launching a 
chain of theaters. The world continues to be pretty finite. It's still 95 
percent dominated by studio production. What Sundance is trying to 
do is to create some synergies. The good news is that there were 600 
films that came to us alone last year, and maybe another 150 that got 
made and didn't tit into our cycle. The bad news is that only 50 at most 
will find theatrical release. 

Pal Aufderheule is associate professor in the School of Communication at American 

University. 



January/February 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 45 



LEGAL BRIEFS 



I 



by Robert L . 

S E I G E L 



AS \\ I VILRIAINMLM ATTORNEY, I GENER- 
ally receive a telephone call a week from a 
mediamaker who has received a "distribution 
agreement." Once we review the agreement, 
however, it's clear that the deal is not with a 
distributor hut with a foreign sales agent. 
Although the roles often overlap, there is a dis- 
tinction. 

THE GOOD, 

Distributors, such as Fine Line or Sony 
Pictures Classics, acquire and place completed 
projects directly into theaters. Sometimes they 
also act as a sales agent, selling (or more accu- 
rately, licensing) rights to specific media in a 
given territory. Some distributors act as their 
own foreign sales agents. Miramax, for 
instance, has a foreign sales division and "out- 
put" arrangements with overseas distributors, 
while October Films recently entered into an 
arrangement with New York-based Good 
Machine, in which the highly successful indie 
production company acts as a foreign sales 
agent for its own films and films acquired by 
October (e.g., Jim Jarmusch's Neil Young docu- 
mentary, Year of the Horse and the latest pro- 
ject from Welcome to the Dollhouse director 
Todd Solondz). 

However, the majority of sales agents are 
independent sales companies that represent a 
slate of projects either overseas or worldwide. 
They are the middlemen between filmmakers 
and distributors. You can find them pressing 
the flesh at the American Film Market, 
Cannes, MIFED, and MIPCOM, as well as at 
such major festivals as Toronto, Sundance, and 
Berlin, which have become de facto markets. 
Here they can meet and place a face to that 
German television acquisitions executive or 
Japanese home video rep with whom they've 
been communicating by telephone or e-mail. 
The personal contacts built up over the years, 
plus the first-hand knowledge of the intricacies 
of the various foreign territories, make foreign 
sales agents an invaluable resource for media- 
makers who want their work to find an audi- 
ence abroad. 

But as with distributors, a written contract is 
essential with foreign sales agents. This article 
addresses a few key points that you would be 



wise to negotiate before signing the document 
and handing over your life's work to someone 
you may have only just met. 

An agreement should state clearly the 

scope of rights the agent will represent (which 
media and which territories). Unless one hits 
the jackpot — being approached by a big dis- 
tributor with a significant advance and market- 
ing commitments — most producers need to 
decide whether to "split" a project's rights, giv- 
ing one company domestic rights, for instance, 
and another rights for the rest of the world. 
Such a slicing up of the pie prevents or limits 



THE BAD, AND THE UGLY 

o Foreign Sales J\ gen 



"cross-collateralization," in which, for 
instance, the losses incurred in certain domes- 
tic media are recouped against monies earned 
overseas. However, agents can cross-collateral- 
ize the losses from one medium in a territory 
against the monies earned in another medium 
in that territory. 

Producers should request a reservation of 
rights provision. This explicitly states that all 
rights not specifically granted to the agent are 
reserved by the producer. In the case of nonac- 
tion projects, producers may wish to grant a 
sales agent foreign television rights, but retain 
the rights to foreign educational markets, in 
order to license these rights directly to schools 
and libraries or to hire a company that special- 
izes in the educational market. 

Although every mediamaker 
seeks an advance or minimum 
guarantee or a prepayment of royal- 
ties (to be recouped by the agent 
from the producer's initial royalties), 
most agents do not offer either. 
Many simply do not have the 
monies; others choose not to pay 
one, since they know it's a buyer's 
market; the abundance of product 
and the limited number of distribu- 
tion outlets tilts the leverage in the 
agent's favor. In the rare case a pro- 
ducer receives an advance or a min- 
imum guarantee, it is generally payable in 
installments, with a small portion of the 
advance or minimum guarantee paid upon 
signing the agreement while the bulk of it is 
paid when the producer delivers the materials. 

Producers should carefully review an agree- 
ment's delivery schedule and requirements 
and discuss which elements are necessary for 
the agent to do his or her job. For example, if a 



project will he licensed only in the television 
and home-video overseas markets, then such 
film-based elements as an internegative 
would not he required. Although most 
domestic agents and their licensees require 
"Errors and Omissions" ("E & O") insurance 
against such claims as copyright infringement 
and defamation, some foreign sales agents 
and their licensees are less stringent about 
such coverage. (This does not relieve a 
mediamaker from the responsibility of secur- 
ing all rights for a project.) Producer should 
feel free to negotiate the extent of any 



The issue of 

an agent's 

expenses 

is an 

area that 

warrants 

careful 

attention. 



.A. g r e e m e i\ t 

required coverage (e.g., for the lifetime of the 
license vs. the duration of a project's copy- 
right vs. just the first three years). Another 
negotiable point is whether the producer will 
pay for this coverage or whether the agent 
will place the project under its coverage and 
recoup the cost as a sales expense. 

One final point concerning materials: pro- 
ducers should retain possession of a project's 
negative or master and grant a lab letter of 
access to any agent who may have to dupli- 
cate prints or videocassettes. Such a letter 
can include a provision in which a lab can 
keep track of the number of film and video- 
cassette copies of a project made at the lab. 

The issue of an agent's expenses is anoth- 
er area that warrants careful attention. Be 
sure to have any agreement call for the 
agent's reimbursement of only 
actual, direct out-of-pocket 
expenses (e.g., duplication, mail- 
ings, preparation of a trailer) that 
have been incurred solely due to 
the project. Expenses such as 
overhead should not be consid- 
ered a recoupable expense; 
agents should cover those costs 
from their commissions. 
Agreements should indicate 
expense "caps" (either per 
expense or in total) which an 
agent may incur before requiring the produc- 
er's prior, written approval. Such caps should 
decrease every year, since most of a project's 
expenses are incurred at the beginning of an 
agreement's term. 

An agreement's term can vary from one 
to 20 years. Producers should recognize that 
the third-party licenses an agent enters into 
usually have terms that outlast any foreign 



46 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



sales agent agreement. The agent, therefore, is 
entitled to commissions from any deals he or 
she has made, or in some cases, negotiated 
during the agreement's term, regardless of 
whether the agreement has expired. 

Producers often request a performance 
clause. This specifies that the agent must 
secure enough deals to meet or exceed a nego- 
tiated dollar amount during the early part of 
the agreement's term (e.g., the first one to 
three years) or the producer would have the 
right to terminate the agreement (subject to 
the agent's right to receive commissions for 
already concluded or negotiated deals). 
Certain sales agents can provide estimates for 
license fees or advances for different markets. 
Producers can require that any agreement 
that provides for less than the estimate would 
require the producer's prior, written approval 
(thereby preventing an agent from making 
deals at "fire sale" prices). 

Agent's commissions can vary from 12.5 
percent (a rare occurrence) to as high as 50 
percent. The average commission is a flat 
20—40 percent, or an agent can receive differ- 
ent commissions depending on media. 
However, the amount of the commission is 
only halt the stop,-; it is important to know 
from what monies the commissions are 
payable. At this point, producers get into the 
nebulous area of "gross," "net," and "adjusted 
gross." Such labels are not as important as 
their definitions, which explain bow the 
monies are calculated. Most agreements are 
based on "gross" monies, in winch an agent 
takes a commission "off the top" from the total 
monies received and then deducts his or her 
costs and expenses trom what is lett over, with 
the balance ot monies going to the producer. 
In other situations, the agent takes the com- 
mission, then the producer receives a certain 
percentage (e.g., 20%), then the agent 
recoups its expenses trom the remaining 
monies, with the balance remitted to the pro- 
ducer. A ditterent formula occurs when an 
agent acts as a distributor in more limited 
markets and media, such as educational media 
or home video, since the producer may 
receive a royalty (e.g., 15-30%) from all 
monies received by the agent subject to no or 
limited deductions, with the balance retained 
by the agent/distributor, who recoups expens- 
es from this payment. 

Agents sometimes enter into an arrange- 
ment with a sub-distributor tor a specific ter- 
ritory. Because the sub-distributor will also 
take a commission and needs to recoup 



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If an agent 
insists that a 
producer be 
subject to a 
"default and 
termination" 
clause, the 
producer 
should insist 
on a "notice 
and cure 
provision." 



expenses, this 
reduces the bal- 
ance of monies 
remitted to the 
producer. To 
prevent or limit 
excessive or 
"double com- 
missions," the 
agreement 
between the 
producer and 
the agent should 
limit the 

amount an 

agent can tack 
on for a sub-dis- 
tributor's fee 
without the pro- 
ducer's prior, 
written 
approval, or 
stipulate that 
the fee should 
come out of the 
agent's commis- 



sion. 
Producers should receive accounting state- 
ments along with payments on a quarterly basis 
for the first two years and then semi-annually 
thereafter (since the bulk of a project's monies 
generally are earned during the initial few years 
of an agreement's term). Such statements 
should include a producer's report, which spec- 
ifies the monies generated per deal, as well as a 
breakdown of how an agent incurred expenses 
(e.g., costs of attending a market, preparing 
marketing materials, etc.). Copies of licensing 
agreements entered into by the agent should be 
made available to the producer. 

In some cases, producers may want to exam- 
ine the agent's books and records pertaining to 
a project. Such audit rights are generally 
enforceable by a producer no more than once 
per year. Since the cost can be expensive, pro- 
ducers should have a reasonable belief that the 
financial success of a project justifies such an 
examination. Although an audit is usually done 
at the producer's expense, producers can 
include a provision in the agreement whereby 
the agent would assume the cost if the audit 
reveals a discrepancy of a certain percentage 
(e.g., 5-10 percent). 

A producer should insist on a provision in 
which an agreement can be terminated it the 
agent should default in its obligations — not 
meeting the "performance clause" standard, tor 



48 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



instance, or failing to provide statements or 
monies. The agreement should provide for a 
period in which the agent is notified of an 
alleged default and given a certain time period 
(e.g., 10-30 days) to remedy it. If an agreement 
is terminated, the producer receives the mate- 
rials he or she paid for or provided to agent. If 
an agent insists that a producer be subject to a 
"default and termination" clause, the producer 
should insist on a "notice and cure provision." 

Producers should require that no alterations 
be made to their projects without their prior, 
written consent, except for alterations made for 
censorship purposes or program length — excep- 
tions that enhance an agent's ability to make 
deals with foreign third parties. Mediamakers 
may balk at such a provision and insist on no 
alternations to their work without their prior 
written consent. However, different cultural 
standards and programming needs may require 
such edits, and a possible deal may fall apart as 
producers grapple with this creative versus eco- 
nomic debate. 

Mediamakers should insist on an arbitration 
provision for the resolution of disputes. Most 
producers (and their counsel) prefer arbitra- 
tion, since it is usually more efficient and less 
expensive than litigation. Most agents have 
deeper pockets than producers and are more 
likely to win a war of attrition. Further, sales 
agents generally want disputes to be argued 
where he or she is based. However, a compro- 
mise can be offered in which the jurisdiction of 
the party bringing the claim would govern, or 
the mediamaker agrees to the agent's jurisdic- 
tion provided that the sales agreement has an 
arbitration clause. Producers generally should 
insist that the prevailing party in any arbitra- 
tion be entitled to recovery of attorneys' fees 
and reasonable costs. 

Beyond any "deal points," mediamakers 
should keep two points in mind: (1) producers 
should work with agents who are both realisti- 
cally enthusiastic about a project's sales possi- 
bilities and knowledgeable about the market- 
place, so all parties understand where and how 
to approach buyers and licensees; and (2) pro- 
ducers should engage the services of an experi- 
enced entertainment attorney to negotiate the 
deal between the producer and the agent. 

Producers should bear in mind that they will 
prevail on some points, compromise on a few, 
and concede a few others. The key is to know 
what to ask for, be prepared to negotiate, and 
know which points are deal-breakers and which 
are do-able. 

Robert L. Seigel is a New York-based entertainment 
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January/February 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 49 



FESTIVALS 

[festivals@aivf.org] 



by Thomas 
Pallotta 



i listings do not constitute an 
™ endorsement. since some details 
may change after the magazine goes to 
press, we recommend that you contact 
the festival directly before sending 
preview cassettes. deadline for sub- 
mitting a call for entries in the festi- 
val column is the 15th of the month 
two-and-a-half months prior to cover 
date (e.g., jan 15 for april issue). all 
blurbs should include: festival dates, 
categories, prizes, entry fees, dead- 
lines, formats & contact info. to 
improve our reliability and make this 
column more beneficial, we encourage 
all mediamakers to contact fivf with 
changes, criticism, or praise for fes- 
tivals profiled. 

Domestic 

AVIGNON/NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL, Apr 
24-May 3, NY. Deadline: Feb 15. Avignon/New York 
Film Fest is the American version of the 15 year-old 
Avignon Film Fest, with a top line-up of film pre- 
mieres, retrospectives, VIP encounters, seminars & 
fetes. Audience vote decides 4 winners, awards total 
$25,000 in encouragements to 2 winning feature 
directors 6k 2 short directors. Formats: 35mm 6k 
16mm; preview on VHS (NTSC, PAL or SECAM) 
Entry Fee: $25. Contact: Jerome Henry Rudes, 
General Director, French-American Film Workshop, 
198 Avenue of Americas, New York, NY 10013; 
(212) 343-2675; fax: 343-1849; jhr2001@aol.com 
<www.francetelecom.com> 

ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, July, NY. Deadline: mid-March. 
Organized by Asian CineVision, NYC-based nat'l 
media arts center. Noncompetitive fest, created in 
1978, country's oldest showcase for Asian 6k Asian 
American filmmakers. After its NY premiere, 
embarks on 10-month tour of N. America. Films pro- 
duced, directed 6k/or written by artists of Asian her- 
itage eligible. Features 6k shorts in all cats accepted. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm; preview on cassette or 
16mm. Entry fee: $10. Contact: Asian American 
Film Int'l Film Festival, ACV, 32 East Broadway, 4th 
tl., NY, NY 10002; (212) 925-8685; fax: 925-8157; 
ACVinNYC(S aol.com 

BERKSHIRE WOMEN'S FILM & VIDEO FES- 
TIVAL, July 31 - Aug. 2, MA. Deadline: Feb. 15. 
Co-sponsored by Celebrate Berkshire Women 
Artists, Inc. and Berkshire Media Women. This 
Festival will be part of the Koussevitzky Arts Festival 
of Berkshire Community College. Applicants must 
be women who reside in the Berkshire region 
(defined as including areas adjacent to Berkshire 
County, MA) Entries must be at least produced, 
directed or written by a woman. Entries must be in 
VHS format. Formats: VHS, 3/4", 16mm or 35 mm. 



Entry fee; $25 for up to 40 minutes, $35 for longer. A 
professional independent panel will select 
films/videos in 3 categories: Documentary, Narrative 

and Animation then screened at Festival and Best in 
each category. Contact: Eleanor Lord, Celebrate 
Berkshire Women Artists, Box 477, Stockbridge MA 

01262; (413) 298-3384. 

CALIFORNIA SUN INTERNATIONAL ANI- 
MATION FESTIVAL, April, CA. Deadline: Feb. 
1 1. Vidimation, an Associated Students organization 
of California State University, Northridge invites 
animators world-wide to submit their work. All 
forms 6k styles of animation accepted. CSUN is 
located in the Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, 
minutes from Disney, Warner Bros., Dreamworks 6k 
other major animation studios. Program will be 
selected by panel including top industry animators. 
best will showcase animation to the University 
Community 6k Los Angeles/Hollywood animation 
industry. Awards: "The Golden Sun" (cash), plus the 
top three "Silver Ani's." Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
Beta, 3/4", 1/2". Entry fee $25. Preview on 1/2" VHS- 
NTSC. Contact: California SUN Animation Fest, 
Attn. Liane Polosky/Vidimation, Dept. of Art-mail 
drop 8300, California State University, Northridge, 
18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330; (818) 
382-2909; videoart(5 csun.edu 
<www.csun.edu/~jpr45052/anifest> 

CANYONLANDS FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

April, UT. Deadline: Mar 1. Fest est. 1995. Special 
consideration given to works presenting thought- 
provoking material, in cats: Dramatic Features 6k 
Shorts, Doc. Feature, Doc. Short, Southwestern 
Regional Issues (or work filmed in the region) and 
epecially, Westerns. Other cats. incl. Avant- 
Garde/Exp., Comedy, Outdoor Adventure (moun- 
tain biking 6k river running), Student Produced and 
Animation. Any genre which offers solutions, ideas 
and/or hopeful futures based on positive change 
given special consideration. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
1/2", 3/4". Entry fee: $30 (35mm, $25 (16mm, 1/2", 
3/4") 6k $20 (Student). Contact: Nicholas Brown, 
Canyonlands Film 6k Video festival, 435 River Sands 
Road, Moab, UT 84532; (435) 259-9135; 
<http://moab-utah.com/film/video/festival.html> 

CAROLINA FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

April 1-4, NC. Deadline: Mar. 10. Univ. of North 
Carolina fest, now in 8th yr, has goal of showcasing 
best student 6k ind. film 6k video in all genres, incl. 
animation, doc, experimental, narrative 6k hybrid. 
About 50 works screened in competition. Awards of 
$2,500+ in cash 6k Kodak film stock. Entry fee: $20 
(students), $30 (independents). Formats: 16mm, 
BETA, 1/2"; prescreening on VHS. Contact: Killian 
Heilsberg, Carolina Film 6k Video Festival, 
Broadcasting/Cinema Program, 100 Carmichael 
Bldg, UNCG, Greensboro, NC 27412-5001; (910) 
334-5360; fax: 334-5039; akheilsb(a hamlet.uncg. 
edu <www.uncg.edu/cbt/CFVF.html> 

CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTI- 
VAL, Aug. 12-16, 1998, IL. Deadline: May 15th. 
Late deadline June 1st. Competitive festival now in 
its 5th year featuring works of underground, inde- 
pendent and experimental film and video makers. 
Looking for works of a controversial, cutting-edge, 
transgressive and/or politically incorrect nature. Past 
guest filmmakers have included Richard Kern, 



Kenneth Anger, George Kuchar, Beth R and John 
Waters, 1998 gusts to be announced. Also presents 
festival sponsored screenings throughout the year. 
( lash prizes given to the best film or video in these 
categories; feature, Short, Experimental, Doc. and 
Animation. Audience Choice awards also present- 
ed. Entry Fee $30. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, S-8, 
Video. Preview on 1/2" VHS. Contact: Bryan 
Wendort, Chicago Underground Film Festival, 
2501 North Lincoln Ave. Ste. 278, Chicago, IL 
60614; (773) 866-8660; fax: 342-7192; 
int" 1 " cuff.org <www. cuff.org> 

CONDUIT, mid-Mar, TX. Deadline: Feb. 15. 2nd 
annual fest celebrates the convergence/collision of 
various media and computing technologies by pro- 
viding a showcase for cutting edge digital media 
from around the world. Seeks film, video, comput- 
er animation, CD-ROM, or website work. Preview 
on VHS-NTSC. Official sidebar of SXSW film and 
multi-media fest. Entry fee: $10 Contact: Conduit, 
911 Congress, Austin, TX 78701; (512) 469-1799; 
fax: 469-5807; d9(« eden.com 

DOMINIQUE DUNNE MEMORIAL VIDEO 
COMPETITION AND FESTIVAL, May, CO. 
Deadline: Apr. 15. 28th yr of int'l competition for 
originally produced videos by high school students, 
open to any student currenly enrolled in high 
school grades 9-12 or college freshman entering a 
film produced w/in past 12 mos. Entries must be 
sole work of student filmmaker or filmmakers, w/ 
2/3 original content. Awards in dramatic/narrative 
(8-24 mins), experimental (3-12 mins), stop 
action/computer animated (non prize cat). 1st 
prize $300, 2nd prize $200, 3rd prize $100. Entry 
fee: $10 6k SASE. Formats: 1/2". Contact: David 
Manley, fest coordinator, Dominique Dunne 
Memorial Video Competition 6k Festival, Fountain 
Valley School of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO 
80911; (719) 392-2657. 

FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL, June 12-21, FL. 
Deadline: Feb 15. 7th year of this 10-day event fea- 
turing foreign 6k U.S. ind. films (feature, short, doc, 
narrative, experimental, animation), seminars, 
Midnight movies, Florida student competition, cel- 
ebrations 6k special guests. Held at Enzian Theater, 
major ind. non-profit cinema 6k media arts center, 
fest has evolved from exhibition-only fest to juried 
competition. In each of the features, docs 6k shorts 
cat, there is a Jury Award, Audience Award 6k 1 
other award at jury's discretion. Entries for compe- 
tition must have at least 51% US funding. Features 
must be 50 min. or more. Fest also sponsors sever- 
al curated sidebars, special events, seminars 6k 
receptions. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Video (for 
Computer Animation 6k student competetion 
only). Preview on 1/2" VHS. Entry fee: $15-30. 
Contact: Matthew Curtis, program din, Florida 
Film Fest, Enzian Theatre, 1300 S. Orlando Ave., 
Maitland, FL 32571; (407) 629-1088; fax: 629- 
6870; filmfest(« gate.net <www.enzian.org> 

GEN ART FILM FESTIVAL, Apr 29- May 5, 
NY. Deadline Feb 15. Now in its 3rd year, GEN 
ART is New York City's foremost curated, non- 
competitive fest championing American indepen- 
dent film and its audiences. Fest offers gala New 
York premiere attended by enthusiastic fllmgoers, 
critics, and industry professionals followed by 



50 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 




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{Evaluating the Worth of Your Script) 

(Sponsored by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc) How do you determine the best avenues of 
development for your project? What can you do to legitimize your script in the eyes of the 
marketplace? How do you assess the budget parameters of your script when targeting 
potential investors? What options are available to you after you have submitted you 
script? Get clued in with this panel of experts, introduction: Sara Rose, Senior Vice 
President of Acquisitions. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Orion Pictures Corporation 
moderator: Anne Carey, Vice President of Development, Good Machine/Good Machine 
International panelists: Herb Beigel, Writer/Director, Camp Stories; Jill Bock, Literary 
Agent, The Tantleff Office; David Miner, 3 Arts Entertainment; Tom Noonan, Writer/Director, 
The Wife; Michelle Satter, Director of Feature Film Program, Sundance Institute 



(Selling Your Film) 



Q 



(Sponsored by Rudolf & Beer, LLP) Strategies and mis-strategies for filmmakers are 
compared in this detailed discussion devoted to the various decisions facing a 
filmmaker with a just-completed project. Where should you launch your film — at an 
industry or festival screening? How do you use the festival circuit to leverage a 
distribution deal? Should you split rights? Hire a publicist before it's sold? Try and find 
your own finishing money? These and other questions will be answered, mooerator: Jed 
Alpert. Attorney, Rudolf & Beer, LLP panelist: Jay Chandrasekhar. Director, Puddlecruiser. 
Robert Kessel, Director of Acquisitions, Miramax Films; Marcia Kirkley, Producer, Sudden 
Manhattan-. Charlotte Mickie. Senior Vice President. 
International Film Sales. Alliance Communications /"W/e/j "" 

SAG Contracts 101 (or Indies: The Inside ScoopJ \f llJ ^ ^PhZde!" 1 

\rj wwy limitpH 
(Sponsored by Screen Actors Guild) Join SAG for an "off-the-record" discussion\^__3 
that puts all SAG agreements under the magnifying glass. Questions are hypothetical 
and no detail too small. A special focus on the new low budget agreements is a must for 
independents 1 moderator: Sallie Weaver, Director. Production Development and Performer 
Rights, SAG panelists: Jason Beghe. Actor. G.I. lane-. Angelina Jolie, Actor, George 
Wallace-Asm Kilik, Producer, Dead Man Walking. Clockers, Basquiat. 

( Attracting and Securing Talent for Budget-Minded Indies) 

(Sponsored by FILMMAKER Magazine) Can you create your dream cast and stay within your 
budget? What kind of casting strategies have worked to create breakout indie film? 
More than ever today, casting drives film financing and development. How do you make 
an offer without a finance scale 7 Avoid mis-casting with tips to guide you toward the 
stars, moderator: Scott Macaulay, Editor, FILMMAKER Magazine/Co-Producer, Gummo 
panelists: David Miner. 3 ARts Entertainment; Tim Perell. Co-President, Eureka Pictures; 
Laura Rosenthal, Casting Director, Juliet Taylor Casting 



PACKAGE SET: Buy all 6 transcripts for $50 (members), $65 (non-members) INDIVIDUAL TRANSCRIPTS: $15 each (members), 

$20 each (non-members) Call (212) 465-8244 ext.2800 to order by phone or download from IFP's website IndieLink: www.ifp.org 

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spectacular party at one of Manhattan's Hippest 
nightspots. Fest's unique format of screening only one 

feature and one short film per night for seven nights 
allows Gen Art to truly highlight the work of all par- 
ricipating filmmakers. Formats: 35mm, 16mm; pre- 
view on 1/2". Entry fees: $15 shorts, $25 features. 
Submitted work should be completed after Jan 1996. 
NYC theatrical premiere required. All genres of films, 
including narrative, doc, experimental 6k animated 
works are accepted. No videos or works in progress. 
Contact: Deena Juras, fest din, GEN ART Film Fest, 
145 W. 28th St., Suite 11C, New York, NY 10001; 
(212) 290-0312; fax: 290-0254; genart@emedia.net 
<www.genart.org> 

INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILM & 
VIDEO DANCE, Jun 1 1-25, NC. Deadline: Jan 26. 
3rd annual fest. Cats include: Choreography for the 
Camera, Doc & Experimental. Fest will be major sur- 
vey of dance for the camera in the global community 
of dance 6k will provide an overview of the current 
trends 6k practices of artists 6k choreographers work- 
ing in both film 4k video, as well as an historic survey 
of the genre. Format: VHS in NTSC or PAL. Entry 
Fee: $25. Contact: Rebecca Hix, American Dance 
Fest, Box 90772, Durham, NC 27708-0772; (919) 
684-6402; rhix@acpub.duke.edu 
<www.americandancefestival.org> 

I INTERNATIONAL JEWISH VIDEO COMPE- 
TITION, June, CA. Deadline: Mar. 31. Now in 5th 

| yr, competition accepts entries on Jewish themes from 
every level 6k cat of prod, includ. audio 6k interactive 

| media. All original formats accepted but entries must 
be submitted on VHS-NTSC, produced w/in preced- 
ing 3 1/2 yrs 6k be under 100 min. Awards: Jurors' 
Choice (share $750); Jurors' Citation (share $500), 
Directors' Choice (share $250); Honorable Mention 
(certificate 6k screenings); Lindheim Award for pro- 
gram that best explores political 6k social relationship 
between Jews 6k other ethnic 6k religious groups. 
Winners screened at Magnes Museum for 2 mos, as 
well as cable 6k other venues. Formats: 3/4", 1/2", 
Beta. Entry fee $25 under 30 min., $35 over 31 min. 

| Contact: Bill Chayes, video competition coordinator, 
Judah L. Magnes Museum, 291 1 Russell St., Berkeley, 

|CA 94705; (510) 549-6952; fax: (510) 849-3673; 
jewvideo(gslip.net or wchayes@aol.com 
<www.slip.net/ — jewvideo> 

L.A. FREEWAVES, Sept, CA. Deadline: Feb 2. 6th 
Celebration of independent video 6k new media seeks 
video's, CD-ROMs, WWW pages, interactive digital, 
proposals for video installations 6k performances. Will 
screen narrative, doc, animation 6k experimental 
works by artists, activists 6k mediamakers. 
Submissions accepted: NTSC 3/4" or VHS, Mac- 
compatable CD-ROMs, WWW addresses, 1-2 page 
proposals for installations 6k performances w/ support 
materials (video documention, slides, etc.) Will also 
consider proposals for video bus tours that link alter- 
native art spaces 6k community centers in Southern 
California. Include bio or resume, as well as publicity 
material of video scans in PICT or TIFF formats 
Entry fee: $10. Contact: L.A. Freewaves, 2151 Lake 
shore Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039; (213) 664-1510; 
fax: 664-1577; freewaves@aol.com 
<www.freewaves.org> 

NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL, June 16-21, 
MA. Deadline: Apr. 10. Screenplay Competition 



52 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



Deadline: March 20. The Nantucket Film Festival, 
honoring screenwriters 6k their craft, presents feature 
films, short films, docs, staged readings, QekA with 
filmmakers, panel discussions, and the Morning 
Coffee With... series. Writers are encouraged to pre- 
sent their films and works-in-progress and get feed- 
back from other screenwriters and filmmakers. Film 
Submissions: entry must not have had commercial 
distribution or US broadcast. Formats: 35mm, 16mm; 
preview on 1/2". Entry fee: $40 features; $25 shorts 
(35 minutes or less). Screenplay Competition: The 
Tony Cox Award for Screenwriting Competition, 
sponsored by Showtime Networks, entry must he 
screenwriter's original, unproduced work. Entry tee: 
$40. Contact: Jill Goode, Artistic Director, 
Nantucket Film Festival, PO Box 688, Prince St. 
Station, New York, NY 10012; (212) 642-6339 
<www.nantucketfilmfestival.org> 

NEW YORK VIDEO FESTIVAL, July, NY. 
Deadline: Mar 16. Originally presented as pan of the 
New York Film Festival, this noncompetitive test is 
now an independent project, presented in association 
with the Lincoln Center's summer fest. It aims to pre- 
sent the latest in electronic arts and had included 
video, HDTV & CD-ROM. All videos shown are sin- 
gle channel, projected in the Film Society's 268-seai 
Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. Multi- 
channel video installations ate on view in the the- 
ater's Furman gallery. There are no categories or 
awards. Average of 40 works presented m 14 pro- 
grams; coverage in New York Times is. Village Voice, as 
well as out-of-town ex. inf.'] coverage. Submitted 
works should be recent (w/in past two years); New 
York premieres preferred, but not required. Formats: 
3/4", 1/2", Beta, CD-ROM; preview on 3/4", 1/2", 
CD-ROM (tor pc). Entry Fee: None. Do not send 
masters, tapes not returned. Contact: New York 
Video Fest, Film Society of Lincoln Center, 70 
Lincoln Center Plaza, NY, NY 1002 3; (212) 875- 
5610; fax: 875-5636; filmlinc(S dn.net 
< www.filmlinc.com > 

NEWARK BLACK FILM FESTIVAL, July, NJ. 
Deadline: early March. 6-wk summer test ot films by 
African-American filmmakers ex films featuring his- 
tory 6k culture of Black people in America 6x else- 
where. Fest, now over 2 decades, has screened over 
500 films before total audiences of almost 85,000. 
Paul Robeson Awards are biennial, next competition 
is 1999. Fest accepts noncommercial, ind. films 6k 
videos completed in previous 2 yrs in cats ot doc, 
non-doc, animation 6a experimental. Original 16mm 
films 6k videos released w/in previous 2 yrs consid 
eied; industrial, commercial or studio prods ineligi- 
ble. Committee representing sponsors 6k community 
arranges test 6a selects films. Cash prizes awarded at 
discretion ot judges. Fest is tree to public 6k co-spon- 
sored by Newark Museum, Newark Public Library, 
Newark Symphony Hall, New Jersey Inst, of 
Technology and Rutgers University/Newark. Entry 
fee: $25 (Robeson competiton). Contact: Program 
Coordinator, Newark Black Film Festival, Newark 
Museum, 49 Washington Street, Box 540, Newark, 
NJ 07101-0540; (201) 596-6550; fax: 642-0459. 

NIGHT OF THE BLACK INDEPENDENTS 
FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, May 17-18, GA. 
Deadline: April 23. Sponsored by NBI, a nonprofit 
organization ot African-American filmmakers provid- 
ing opportunity for independent artists to exhibit and 



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January/February 1 998 T H E I N E P E N E N T 53 



FLORIDA 



CALL FOR ENTRIES 




FESTIVAL 



Deadline: February 27, 1998 
Late Deadline: March 27, 1998 

16mm & 35mm Features Documentary 

Juried Competition Shorts Animation 

Audience Awards Narrative Experimental 

THE SEVENTH FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL 

1300 South Orlando Ave. • Maitland, FL 32751 

p: 407/629-1088 • f: 407/629-6870 

e: filmfest@gate.net • w: www.enzian.org 



"Thanks for the best time I've ever had at 
a film festival." 
Chris Gore, Film Threat 

"You guys have truly provided a haven for 
artists and treated us really independent 
filmmakers as such. All festivals should 
follow your example." 

- Stann Nakazono. Producer, Hang Your Dog in the 
Wind & Co-Founder, the 1997 Slumdance 
Experience (Park City) 

"On one level, it's one of the best orga- 
nized, best functioning film festivals I've 
ever been at, but at the same time, on a 
much more important level, there's a 
warmth, there's a friendliness, there's a 
true love of film that I truly appreciate." 
■ Roger Corman 




276 Babcock St. Boston, MA 02215 
61 7-254-7882 Phone • 61 7-254-7 149 Fax 

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market their work directly to the public. Feature- 
length and short video and film projects welcome, 
must have been completed after Jan 1996. Works can 
be shot on any format, but will be screened on video. 
Submissions must be on 1/2". Format: VHS, Beta SR 
3/4". Contact: NBI Film and Video Festival, Box 
77305, Atlanta, GA 30357; (770) 446-8152; indy- 
tilmf" compuserve.com. 

OUTFEST '98: The 16th Anniversary of the Los 
Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, July 9-19, Los 
Angeles, CA. Deadline: February 27. Fees: $10-$20. 
Held at the Directors Guild of America and nearby 
venues, Outfest seeks films and videos by and/or 
about gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. 
Open to narrative and documentary features and 
shorts on 35mm, 16mm, 3/4" or 1/2" video. Twelve 
awards ranging from $500 to $2,000. Contact: 
Outfest, 8455 Beverly Blvd., #309, Los Angeles, CA, 
90048; (213) 951-1247; fax: 951-0721; outfest® 
aol.com <www.outfest.com> 

IPHILAFILM, July 19-25, PA. Deadline: Apr 1. 
Philadelphia Int'l Film Festival is calling for entries in 
2 1st annual fest. Features, shorts, docs, animation, 
exp, TV series, super 8mm, student work, music 

| videos screened. Format: 35mm, 16mm, super 8mm, 
1/2" VHS, 3/4" U-Matic. Contact: Philafilm, Int'l 

I Association of Motion Picture & Television 
Producers Inc., 2623 Sorrento Drive, Suite A, 
Philadelphia, PA 19131; tel (215) 879-8209. 

I SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, 

July 16-30, CA. Deadline: March 15. Estab in 1980, 
noncompetitive fest (under annual theme 

I Independent Filmmakers: Looking at Ourselves) 
showcases new Ind American Jewish-subject cinema 

I 6k diverse selection of foreign films. Fest presents dra- 
matic, doc, expeimental 6k animated shorts 6k fea- 
tures about Jewish history, culture 6k identity. 
Filmmakers need not be Jewish; films selected by sub- 
ject. Special programs vary from yr to yr 6k have 
include Russian, Sephardic 6k Latino programs. 35-40 
films showcased each yr. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4", 1/2". Contact: Janis Plotkin, director or Sam 
Ball, associate director, Jewish Film Festival, 346 9th 
Street, San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 621-0556; 

I fax: (510) 548-0536; Jewishfilm(g aol.com; 
<http://sfjff.org> 

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

May 21-June 14, WA. Deadline: Mar. 1. Founded in 
1974, fest one of largest noncompetitive festivals in 
US, presenting more than 160 features 6k 75 short 
films to audience of over 120,000. Known for its 
eclectic programming encompassing all genres 6k 
styles, from latest in contemporary world cinema to 
premieres of American ind. 6k major studio releases. 
Special programs include New Directors Film 
Showcase/Award, Independent Filmmakers Forum, 
American Independent Filmmakers Award, Golden 
Space Needle Awards given in cats of feature film, 
director, actress, actor, doc 6k short story. Inclusion 
qualifies participants for entry in Independent 
Feature Project's Independent Spirit Awards. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm; preview on 1/2". Contact: 
Darryl Macdonald, Seattle Int'l Film Festival, 801 E. 
Pine St., Seattle, WA 98122; (206) 324-9996; fax: 
324-9998; entry@seattlefilm.com 
< www.seattlefilm.com> 



54 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 





























NASHVILLE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL, 

Nov 13-16, TN. Deadline: Mar 1. The Nashville 
Independent Film Festival, formally the Sinking 
Creek Film &. Video Festival, is the longest running 
film fest in the South. The fest has an int'l reputation 
tor its support and encouragement of independent 
media. Many well known, award-winning filmmakers 
have had their work premiered at the festival. Fest 
includes workshops, panels & Artist Coffees. 
Independent features, student films, docs, expenem- 
ntal, animation, short films & young filmmaker (high 
school and below) films & videos of all lengths 


NEW YORK 

INTERNATIONAL 

INDEPENDENT 

FILM & VIDEO 

FESTIVAL 




accepted. About 75 films are shown. Fest is competi- 
tive with cash prizes awarded for all cat's plus two 
special cat's: The Mary Jane Coleman Film Award 
and the Sinking Creek Award tor Film Excellence. 
Fest held at the Watkins Belcourt Theater in 
Nashville, TN. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", Beta. 
Entry fee: $30-$60, depending on length. Contact: 
Michael Catalano, Excutive Dir., 402 Sarratt Center, 
Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN 37240; (615) 343- 


c 


IS 


1 

ri 

a 


'roducers, Managers, Agents, 
butors, and Financiers are invited 

plus Press, Critics, 
nd of course, NYC audiences. 




3419; fax: 343-9461; sinking.creek@vanderbilt.edu 1 




^ .^T j^ Jf j^ 




USA FILM FESTIVAL, April, TX. Deadline: early 1 
March. Fest has 3 major components: noncompeti- 1 
tive feature section (now in 28th yr); Nat'l Short Film 1 
& Video Competition (in 20th yr); KidFilm (held in 1 
mid-Jan). Feature section incl. premieres of major R 


CALL 
212.617.8488 
For ApplicATioNs. 


new films, new works from ind. ek emerging tilmmak- ■ 
ers, special tributes, incl. Great Director award ex H 
retto, panel discussions. To enter, send preview cas- 1 
sette w/ publicity ik production into. Short film ck M 




Features, Shorts, Animation, 

Documentaries, 35, 16, Video 

Multi - Media 




video competition showcases new & significant US 1 
work. Entries should be under 60 mm., completed IJ 
after Jan. 1, 1997. Cash prizes awarded in cats of nar- H 
rative ($1,000); nonaction ($1,000); animation U 
($1,000); experimental ($1,000); Texas Award B 
($500); Student Award ($500); advertising promo ■ 
award; Family Award ($500); 4 special jury awards n 






^otuur/o* Z 


($250). Grand Pn:e Winner flown to Dallas. ■ 
Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, 3/4", 1/2". Entry fee: $40. H 
Contact: Alonso Duralde, USA Film Festival, 2917 | 
Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX 75204; (214) 821-6300; fax: U 
821-6364. 1 

THE VIDEOGRAPHER AWARDS, TX. 1 

Deadline: March 20. Awards in Excellence, 1 




© * 




Distinction 6k Honerable Mention tor special events 1 
videography. Cats. incl. Weddings, Special Events, 1 
Productions, Talent, Government, Legal, Sports, " 
Cable TV Commercials, Videos for Sale and 


- 

• 




'°*f»M&? : 


Creativity. Judges chosen on basis of extensive expe- 
rience and proven creativity in the video field. 
Entries on VHS, SVHS, 3/4", Betacam & BetaSR 


n 

C( 

1 

c 


Fil 


STUDENTS: CALL FOR ENTRIES 


Entry fee: $37.50. Contact: Videographer Awards, 
2214 Michigan, Ste. E, Arlington, TX 76013; (817) 
459-0488; fax: 795-4949; tca<§ imag in.net 


ow is POPULATION GROWTH affecting 
INSUMPTI0N • ENVIRONMENT • SUSTAIN ABILITY 


<www.communicator-awards.com/videographer> 
WEST PALM BEACH INDEPENDENT FILM 


$10,000 IN PRIZES 


FESTIVAL, May 29-31, FL. Deadline: April 1. Fest 
showcases 10-15 short films per night. Seeks original 
films and videos 30 min or less. Format: VHS. 


ENTRIES DUE JUNE 15 • NO ENTRY FEE 


V EXPOSURE •NATIONAL TOUR 


Contact: Ariana Bearce, West Palm Beach Inde-pen- 
dent Film Fest, 421 Flamingo Dr., West Palm Beach, 
FL 33401; (561) 802-3029; fax 655-4190. 

Foreign 

ALGARVE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 


: or more information, a resource guide and 
3 copy of the video Best of Festival , contact: 
WPFVF • 46 Fox Hill Road, Bernardston, MA 
1337 • TL; 800 638-9464 • FX: 413 648-9204 

eM; info@wpfvf.com • www.wpfvf.com 
Sponsored by Sopris Foundation, Searchlight 
ms & Population Communications International 

















Wy. 



19 9 8 

CHARLOTTE 
Film cC- Video 

n/'exfiuu/ 



Mint 

Museum 

o/Art 



May 7 -17, 1998 



Last year $9,000 in Artists Fees & Awards 
Entry deadline: February 16, 1998 
Jurors: Alan Berliner and Cheryl Dunye 
Contact: Robert West, Mint Museum ol Art 

Mint Museum of Art 

2730 Randolph Rd w Charlotte, NC 28207 

(704)337-2019 
FAX (704) 337-2101 

film@mint.uncc.edu 
www.mintmuseum.org 

photo: Pitcim Plop, Ann Elizabeth Miller 



January/February 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N E N T 55 



INDEPENDENT 
FILM FESTIVAL 



March 21 , 1998 • West Point, MS 

Welcomes any length film in 
any genre. Cash awards and 
"MAGS" will be given. Entries 
will be screened in 16mm, and 
3/4". Send VHS preview tape, 
director's filmography, film press 
kit (optional) to: 

Ron Tibbett, Festival Dirctor 
Magnolia Independent Film Festival 
2269 Waverly Dr. 
West Point, MS 39773 
Phone (601) 494-5836 
Fax (601) 494-9900 



Entry deadline Feb. 15, 1998 



VIDEO POST PRODUCTION 



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Tel: 212 219-9240 
Fax: 212 966-5618 




25th 

Athens 

Internation 

Film&- 
Video 

Festival 

Silver 

Anniversary 

May 1 -9th 
1998 



INFO/ENTRY FORM 
Athens International 

Film & Video Fest 

P.O. Box 388 

Athens, OH 45701 



Tel: +614 593 1330 

bradley@ohiou.edu 

deadline: February 9th 



Find us on the World Wide Web 
www.cats.ohiou.edu/~filmfest 



i 



■ - ■ ■ : . 

■ ■ 



VAL, May 25-31, Portugal. Deadline: March 15. 
26th annual fest is longest running event of its kind 
held in Portugal. Films must be produced 1995 or 
later and no longer than 30 mins. Format: 16mm & 
35mm, preview on VHS (PAL or NTSC) Entry 1 Fee: 
None. Contact: Carlos Manuel, General Director, 
Festival Internacional de Cinema do Algarve, RO. 
Box 8091, 1801 Lisboa Codex, Portugal; tel: 01 1 351 
185136 15; fax: Oil 351 1 852 11 50; 
algravefilmfestC" mail.telepac.pt 

CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

May, France. Deadline: early March. Largest int'l film 
fest, attended by over 35,000 stars, directors, distrib- 
utors, buyers 6k journalists. Round-the-clock screen- 
ings, parties, ceremonies, press conferences & one of 
world's largest film markets. Selection committee, 
appointed by Administration Board, chooses entries 
for Official Competition (about 20 films) and Un 
Certain Regard section. Films must have been made 
w/in prior 1 2 mo., released only in country of origin 
6k not entered in other fests. Official component con- 
sists of 3 sections: 1) In Competition, for features ck 
shorts competing for major awards; 2) special Out of 
Competition accepts features ineligible for competi- 
tion (e.g. by previous winners of Palme d'Or); 3) Un 
Certain Regard, noncompetitive section for films of 
int'l quality that do not qualify for Competition, films 
by new directors, etc. Parallel sections incl. 
Quinzaine des Realisateurs (Directors Fortnight), 
main sidebar for new talent, sponsored by Assoc, of 
French Film Directors (deadline mid April); La 
Semaine de la Critique (Int'l Critics Week), 1st or 
2nd features and docs chosen by French Film Critics 
Union (selections must be completed w/in 12 mos 
prior to fest); ck Perspectives on French Cinema. Film 
market, administered separately, screens film in main 
venue and local theater. Top prizes incl. Official 
Competition's Palme d'Or (feature 6k short) and 
Camera d'Or (best first film in any section). For info 
6k press accreditation from U.S., please send letter to: 
Catherine Verret, French Film Office, 745 Fifth Ave. 
Suite 1512, NY, NY 10151; (212) 832-8860; fax: 755- 
0629. Add'l info: Quinzaine des Realisateurs, Societe 
des Realisateurs de Films, 215 rue du Faubourg St. 
Honore, 75008 Paris, France; tel: 011 33 1 45 61 01 
66, fax: 01 1 33 1 40 74 07 96. Semaine International 
de la Critique, Attn: Eva Rolens, 73, rue de Lourmel, 
75015 Paris, France; tel: Oil 33 1 45 75 68 27; fax: 
Oil 33 1 40 59 03 99. Cannes Film Market, attn: 
Marcel Lathiere, 99 boul. Malesherbes, 75008 Paris, 
France; tel: 01 1 33 1 45 61 66 09; fax: 01 1 33 1 45 61 
97 59. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Entry fee: None. 
Contact: Cannes Int'l Film Festival, 99, Boulevard 
Malesherbes, 75008 Paris, France; tel: 011 33 1 45 61 
66 00; fax: 011 33 1 45 61 97 60. 

HAMBURG INTERNATIONAL SHORT/NO 
BUDGET FILM FESTIVAL, June 16-21, Germany. 
Deadline: Feb 14. Forum for presenting diversity of 
internationally produced short films. Int'l short film 
competition awards Hamburg Short Film Award 
(Major Award), Francois Ode Award urvs Special 
Award), Award for Best Animation, 6k Viewers' 
Award. Fest also incl No Budget Competition, for 
films which have been produced w/out public subsi- 
dies or private sponsorship; their foremost feature 
should be "realization of an idea," 6k technical quali- 
ty is of secondary importance; all competition entries 
should be under 20 mins. No Budget Award (Jury 



56 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



Award) & Viewers' Award. Another fest feature is 
Three Minute Quickie competition, under different 
theme each yr; this yr's theme is "Bar". Entries in this 
cat should be 3 min. max. In 1995 fest inaugurated 
Int'l Hamburg Short Film Market, opportunity to see 
all films and vioeos submitted to fest. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 8mm, 3/4," 1/2," Beta SP; preview on video. 
Entry fee: None. Contact: Internationales 
Hamburger Kurzfilmfestival, KurzFilmAgentur Ham- 
burg e.V, Buro, Filmhaus, Friedensallee 7, D-22765 
Hamburg, Germany; Oil 49 40 398 26 122; fax: Oil 
49 40 398 26 123; kfa(§ shortfilm.com 
<www.shortfilm.com> 

HUESCA INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM 
FESTIVAL, June 5-13, Spain. Deadline: April 1. 
Founded in 1971, competitive showcase for Spanish 
&. foreign short films has aim of "the dissemination of 
image as a contribution to the better knowledge &. 
fraternity among the nations of the world." Awards: 
"Ciudad de Huesca" Golden Danzante (1,000,000 
ptas.); Silver Danzante (500,000 ptas); Bronze 
Danzante (250,000 ptas.). Other awards: Award 
"Cacho Pallero" to best Latin American short film, 
Award "Joaquin Costa" of the Institute) de Estudios 
Aloaragoneses to best Spanish short film; Award 
"Francisco Garcia De Paso" to short film that best 
emphasizes human values; Award "Casa de America" 
to best Latin American photography director. No the- 
matic restrictions except no films dealing w; tourism 
or publicity. Entries must be unawarded in other fests 
in Spain, produced in 1997 or 1998, and be under 30 
mins. Of approx. 400 entries received each year, 
about 170 shown. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Entry fee: 
None. Contact: Jose Mana Escriche, comite de direc- 
cion, Festival International Cortometraje "Ciudad de 
Huesca", Apartado 174, 22080 Huesca, Spain; tel; 
Oil 34 9 74 21 25 82; fax Oil 34 9 74 21 00 65. 

HUNGARIAN MULTICULTURAL CENTER 
FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, Sept. 20-22, 
Hungary. Deadline: Apr. 28. Fest accepts film, video 
(PAL) & animated works w/ enclosed English texts. 
Entry fee: $35. Contact: Hungarian Multicultural 
Center, Inc., 6723 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230. Or 
Beata Szechy, tel/fax: (972) 308-8191; bszechy<§ 
mail.smu.edu 

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, July, Australia. Deadline: mid-April. F1APF- 
recognized fest celebrates 47th anniv. as one ot 
Australia's 2 largest, and its oldest, fests. Eclectic mix 
of ind. work, w/ special interest in feature docs & 
shorts. Substantial program of new Australian cine- 
ma. Int'l short film competition important part of fest, 
w/cash prizes in 7 cats: Grand Prix City of Melbourne 
Award for Best Film ($5,000) & $2,000 each in best 
Australian, experimental, animated, doc ek fiction 
film cats. Additional special awards incl: Kino 
Cinemas Award for creative excellence in Australian 
short film ($2,500); ANZAAS/ Scienceworks award 
tor outstanding film or video dealing w/ science-relat- 
ed subject ($1,500); Melbourne International Film 
Festival Awards for outstanding achievement in 
video production 6k best student production. Open 
to films of all kinds, except training 6k advertising 
films. Films 60 min. or less eligible for Int'l Short Film 
Competition; films over 60 min. can be entered in 
noncompetitive feature program. Video 6k super 8 
productions considered for "out-of-competition" 



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screenings. Entries must have been completed w/in 
previous yr & not screened in Melbourne or broad- 
cast on Australian TV. Fest is useful window to 
Australian theatrical & nontheatncal outlets, educa- 
tional distributors 6k Australian TV. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2", super 8. Entry fee: $20. Contact: 
Sandra Sdraulig, exec. Jir. , Melbourne Int'l Film 
Festival, 207 Johnston Street, Box 2206, Fitzroy 3065 
Australia; tel: Oil 61 3 417 2011; fax: Oil 61 3 417 
3804; miff(" netspace.net.au 
<www.cinemedia.net/MIFF> 

SUNNY SIDE OF THE DOCS MARKET & VUE 
SUR LES DOCS FESTIVAL, May 10-13. France. 
Deadline: Mar 27. Independent producers, distribu- 
tors, commissioning editors, heads of television pro- 
gramming departments 6k buyers from all over the 
world will gather again in Marseilles for the 9th annu- 
al Sunny Side of the Doc Market. Attended last year 
by some 1,650 producers from 45 countries and over 
200 buyers 6k commissioning editors representing 31 
countries. Contact: Sunny Side of the Doc 6k Vue Sur 
Les Docs, 3 Square Stalingrad, 13001 Marseilles, 
France; tel: Oil 33 4 91 08 43 15; fax Oil 33 4 9184 
38 34; 100560.1511(acompuserve.com 
<www.film-fest-marseilles.com> 

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL, June 5-19, Australia. 
Deadline: Feb 20. This major FIAPF-recognized 
event is one of world's oldest (over 45 years old) 6k 
leading int'l showcase for new work screening around 
200 films. Noncompetitive int'l program incl. features 
6k docs; experimental works; retro; competition for 
Australian shorts; late shows 6k forums w/ visiting 
directors. All Australian distributors 6k TV buyers 
attend. Fest has enthusiastic 6k loyal audience 6k is 
excellent opportunity for publicity 6k access to 
Australian markets. Held at 1929 picture palace 
acknowledged as one of finest venues in world; other 
city venues also used. Fest conducts audience survey, 
w/ results provided to participating filmmakers; 
results have good deal of influence w/ Australian dis- 
tribs. Entries must have been completed w/in previ- 
ous 18 months 6k be Australian premieres. Formats: 
70mm, 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP (PAL). Entry fee: 
$A15 (for tape return). Contact: Paul Byrnes, fest. 
din, Sydney Film Festival, Box 950, Glebe, NSW, 
Australia; tel: 011612 9660 3844; fax: 01 1 61 2 9692 
8793; info(5 sydfilm-fest.com.au 
<www.sydfilm-fest.com.au> 

TURIN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF LES- 
BIAN AND GAY FILMS, April 16-22, Italy. 
Deadline: early Feb. Now in 13th yr, one of longest- 
running int'l gay 6k lesbian events. Entries should be 
by lesbian/gay filmmakers or address lesbian/gay 
themes 6k issues. About 150 titles. Competition sec- 
tion divided betw 3 juries: doc, long feature 6k short 
feature. Panorama section features new int'l produc- 
tions. Award named after late fest co-founder, 
Ottavio Mai, presented to best screenplay for short. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2" (PAL 6k NTSC). 
Entry fee: None. Contact: Angelo Acerbi, Head pro- 
grammer, or Luca Andreotti, Coordinator, Turin Int'l 
Festival of Lesbian and Gay Films, Da Sodoma a 
Hollywood, Piazza San Carlo 161, 10123 Torino, 
Italy; tel: Oil 39 11 534 888; fax: Oil 39 11 535796; 
glfilmtest(« assioma.com 
<www.assioma.com/glfilm test> 



58 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



classifieds of up to 240 characters cost 
$25/issue for aivf members, $35 for novem- 
bers; classifieds of 240-480 characters cost 
$45/issue for aivf members, $65 for novem- 
bers, include valid member id#. ads may be 
edited as column requires. mail typed copy 
with a check or money order to: fivf, 304 
hudson st., ny, ny 10013. to pay by credit card, 
include: card type (visa/mc); card number; 
name on card; exp date; billing address & 
cardholder's daytime phone. advertisers 
wishing to run a classified more than once 
must pay for each insertion. ads running five 
or more times receive a $5 discount per 
issue. deadlines: 1st of each month, two 
months prior to cover date (e.g. feb. 1 for 
april issue). 

Buy • Rent • Sell 

2 SALES: 1) Camera plcg: Super 16 Arri-S w/ xtal 
6k vari motors, matte box, Periscopic viewtinder, 2 
mags, torque motor, case & tripod. Lenses w/ case: 
Kinoptic 9, 12.5, 25 & 32; Cooke 17.5 6k 50. 
Asking $7,000. Best offer. 2) Misc items: Revis 
splicer, C-mount Elgert 75mm and B6kH 25mm. 
Best offer. Todd (212) 686-9425; wacass(« aol.com. 

16MM PROD. PACKAGE LIGHTING & GRIP 

VAN: HMI Par, Kino Flos, Dedolights, Mole 2Ks 
to inkies, Chimeras, Jib arm, smoke machine, all 
grip equip. Great rates tor indie tilms. Also 16 SR, 
Sony Beta, Nagra w/ or vv/o crew. (203) 254-7370. 

ARR1 BL 12-120 KIT: $7,875. Am M, Primes Kit 
$3,850. Lights & stands $1,875. (212)490-0355. 

ARRI BL w/crystal sync, Angenieux zoom lens, 
three 400' mags, power pack, tripod, head, 2 earn- 
ing cases: $5,500. (813)786-2354. 

K3 16MM CAMERA PKG. K3 camera body » 
crystal sync motor. Bayonnet lens mount. Will fit 
Arri-S lenses. Angenieux 10-150 zoom. AC Power 
supply light meter. Video tap unit. All in waterproot 
case. Paid 3700 new, will sell for 2500. Sal Ricca 
(212) 815-6570. 

WANTED: Fresnels, HMIs, softlights, openface, 

KinoFlo, or light kits; gaffer/grip equip.; mic, boom, 
sound equip., Bolex 16 RX 400' mags; 16mm ok 
35mm tilmstock; reasonable; send descrip., prices: 
1407 Swift, Hobart, IN 46342; (219) 947-9909. 

Distribution 

AQUARIUS PRODUCTIONS, leading distribu- 
tor of outstanding videos because of outstanding 
producers. Join our collection of titles on disabili- 
ties, mental health, aging, nursing, psychosocial 
issues, children & teen issues. For educa- 
tional/health markets. Leslie Kussmann, Aquarius 
Prod., 5 Powderhouse Lane, Sherborn, MA 01770; 
(508) 651-2963; fax: 650-4216; <www.aquarius- 
productions.com> 

ATA TRADING CORP., actively & successfully 
distributing indie products for over 50 yrs, seeks 
new programming of all types for worldwide distri- 
bution into all markets. Contact: (212) 594-6460. 

CINEMA GUILD, leading film/video/multimedia 
distrib, seeks new doc, fiction, educational & ani- 



mation programs for distribution. Send videocassettes 
or disc for evaluation to: The Cinema Guild, 1697 
Broadway, Suite 506, NY, NY 10019; (212) 246- 
5522; fax: 246-5525; TheCinemaGCa aol.com. 

FANLIGHT PRODUCTIONS, distributors of 
award-winning films 6k videos on disabilities, health 
care, mental health, family/social issues, seeks new 
work for educational markets. Karen McMillen, 
Fanlight Productions, 47 Halifax St., Boston, MA 
02130; (800) 937-4113. 

LOOKING FOR AN EDUCATIONAL DIS- 
TRIBUTOR? Consider the University of California. 
We can put 80 years of successful marketing expertise 
to work for you. Kate Spohr: (510) 643-2788 or 
http://www-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/media/ 

MONKEY SEE PRODUCTIONS of Australia 
seeks high-quality videos on health, mental health, 
family, disabilities etc., to distribute to educational 
markets. Christopher Thomas, Box 3010, Waverly 
2024 Australia; fax (612) 9389-7483. 

SEEKING EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS on guidance 

issues: violence, drug prevention 6*. parenting tor 
exclusive distribution. Our marketing gives 
unequaled results. Bureau tor At-Risk Youth, Box 
760, 135 DuPont St., Plainview, NY 1 1803; (800) 99- 
YOUTH x210. 

Freelance 

35MM/16MM PROD. PKG w/ cinematographer. 
Complete studio miek w DP'sown Am 55BL, 16SR, 
dolly, jib crane, lighting, grip, Nagra. ..more, [deal 1- 
SOUTCe tor the low budget 35mm feature. Tom today 

for booking. (201) 807-0155. 

AVID EDITOR: Experienced, creative, opiniated 
editor avail, tor narrative films. Cheap rate- tor right 
project. Elizabeth: (212) 929-2565. 

AWARD-WINNING EDITOR w Avid & Beta SP 
facility. Features, shorts, doc, music videos, educa- 
tional, industrials, demos, triligual Spanish/ 
English Catalan. Low intfo. rates. Nuna Olive-Belles, 

(212) 691-3538. 

BETA SP VIDEOGRAPHER w attractive Sony 
Betacam SP cool sets ol lights 6*. sensitive micro- 
phones is looking tor projects w same qualities. Tons 
ot experience, willing to travel with his old car. 
Yitzhak Gol (718) 591-2760. 

BETA SP VIDEOGRAPHER w/ new Sony 
Betacam SP mics 6k lights. Very portable, light-weight 
6k I'm fast. Experience includes: docs, interviews, 
industrials, fashion shows 6k comedy clubs. John 
Kelleran, (212) 334-3851. 

BRENDAN C. FLYNT: Director of Photography w/ 

15 feature credits 6k dozen shorts. Owns 35 Am, 
Super 16/16 Aaton, HMIs, Tungsten 6k dolly w/ 
tracks. Tel/fax: (212) 226-8417; ela292(« aol.com. 
Credits: Tromeo and Juliet, The Offering, Fine Young 
Gentlemen, Brushfire. 

BURNS STEADICAM: The solution for all moving 
shots. Stay with the action, save time 6k cash. 
Rickshaw, vehicle mounts, wireless focus, vid tap. All 
the right gear to get the shot. (800) 706-7977 
(pager). All calls returned. 

CAMERAMAN w/ full digital video package, 



CLASSIFIEDS 

[independent@aivf.org] 



steadicam, sound gear. Doc 6k fiction; video & 
film; bilingual; positive attitude. Reasonable 
rates. Will travel. Alejandro (201) 295-9032. 

CAMERAMAN w/ solid creative vision. 
Owner Aaton S16 6k Sony Digital DSR-200 
camera packages w/ shotgun 6k radio mic. Andy 
(718) 797-9051. 



I 



CAMERAMAN w/ US network 6k European broad- 
cast experience. Complete prod, package. Sony BVW 
D600 Betacam, lighting, audio, grip, accessories 6k 
minivan. Competitive tates. Chris (201) 509-8186. 

CAMERAPERSON: Visual storyteller loves to col- 
laborate, explore diverse styles 6k formats. Brings pas- 
sion 6k productivity to your shoot. Award-winner w/ 
latest Super Std. 16 Aaton XTR prod, package. Todd 
(212) 686-9425; wacassC" concentric.net 

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Owner of Aaton reg/S- 
16mm pkg vv/ video tap 6k more. Creative, efficient, 
good listener. Features, shorts, docs, music videos. 
Interesting reel. Kevin Skvorak (212) 229-8357; 
kevskvk(§ inx.net. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ Super 16 6k Beta SP 
pkg, credits on films by award-winning doc. 6k narra- 
tive directors. Seeking opportunities on innovative 
features, docs. Low rates avail, for exceptional pro- 
jects. Tsuyoshi (718) 243-9144. 

COMPOSER 6k INSTRUMENTALIST who has 

scored 9 award-winning films. All styles, all budgets. 
Full recording/mixing facility. Nana Simopoulos, 
(212) 727-3705; nasimo@sprynet.com 

COMPOSER FOR FILM/TV: Academy Award 

winning. Broadcast: PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS. Highly 
experienced 6* dedicated. Music in all styles w/ an 
original touch. Complete digital studio. Reasonable 
rates. Leonard bonnet (212) 980-7689. 

CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY 

w/ lighting director background. Specialty films my 
specialty. Can give your film that unique "look." 
16mm 6k 55mm pkgs avail. Charles (212) 295-7878. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY looking for 
interesting features, shorts, ind. projects, etc. Credits 
include features, commercials, industrials, short films, 
music videos. Aaton 16/S-16 pkg avail. Abe (718) 
263-0010. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ complete 
Am 16 BL camera pkg. Rates flexible 6k I work 
quickly. Features, shorts, music videos. Much indie 
film experience. I can work deals that save you 
money. Willing to travel. Matthew (617) 244-6730 or 
(914) 439-5459 for reel. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY who has 

worked under 5 Academy Award-winning DPs on 
recent features. Learned from some of the best. 
Seeking work w/ passionate directors. 40 feature 
credits. Greg (888) 859-2338. 

DOCU-JOURNALIST w/ 15 yrs exp (broadcast, 
indie, co-productions) seeks interesting challenges, 
esp. social, investigative, tech 6k political subjects 
needing data-crunching or computer-aided reporting. 
Shirley Kisaichi, (718) 802-1329; skisaichi(a aol.com 



January/February 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 59 



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EDITOR: Exp Avid editor avail, for freelance work 
on ind. docs 6k features. Strong doc background. 
Interested in projects challenging in form 6k content. 
Rates adjustable based on project. John: (212) 787- 
5481. 

ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: Frequent con- 
tributor to "Legal Brief" column in The independent! 
6* other magazines, offers legal services on projects 
from devel. to distribution. Reasonable rates. Robert 
L. Seigel, Esq.: (212) 307-7533. 

HOT NYC DP AVAILABLE w/ complete Aaton 16 
516 prod. pkg. Cannon, Zeiss, Nikon, Video Tap, 
everything! Feature, hot music video & commercial 
reel looking to expand, long, short form. Flex, rates 
(212) 929-7682. Reel. Res. Conversation. 

INNOVATIVE EDITOR w/ Avid available for chal- 
lenging projects. Experienced in fiction features, 
commercials, music video & doc. Reel available. 
Rodney (718) 246-8235. 

I LOCATION SOUND: Over 20 yrs sound exp. w/ 
timecode Nagra 6k DAT, quality mics. Reduced rates 
tor low-budget projects. Harvey 6k Fred Edwards, 

I (518) 677-5720; beeper (800) 796-7363 (ext/ pin 
1021996); edfilms(a worldnet.att.net. 

MUSIC by classically trained composer fluent in 
rock, jazz, folk ambient, etc. Exp, flexible 6k very fast. 
Docs, features, exp, multimedia; any size project, sur- 
prisingly low rates. My specialty: "Symphonic sound- 

| tracks on a MIDI budget." Full MIDI, Pro Tools setup 
' SMPTE/VITC lockup. Credits: A6kE/History 

I Channel, NPR, PBS, WGBH, KPM Music Libraries. 
Featured in Mi//imeter. Video/audio demo. Paul 
Lehrman (781) 393-4888; lehrman(a pan.com. 

I MUSIC COMPOSER & LOCATION SOUND: 

Original music scores 6k sound design in project stu- 
| dio. Friendly, exp 6k knowledgable. Also location 
sound w/ Nagra 4.2. Andy (914) 741-2975 or (212) 
243-4491. Andy Ryder (aaol.com. 

I MUSIC FOR FILM.. .Music ...Music ...Music 
...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music 
...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music #$%&*? ...Music 
...Music ...Music. Todd Anderson (800) 925-4762 or 
(801) 467-4379 for demo. 

MUSIC: young composer just out of school 6k look- 
ing for exp will work w/ any budget styles ranging 
from suspense to ambient, symphonic to experimen- 
tal. Jon Eichner at Surreal Film Music: (770) 577- 
0800; heroless(§ aol.com 

STEADICAM: Dolly smooth moves w/ flexibility of 
a hand-held camera. Sergei Franklin (212) 228-4254. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

ASS'T PROFESSOR: U. of Texas at Austin offers 3 
positions in Fall '98. MFA/Ph.D w/ expertise in film 
or video prod., aesthetics, directing, editing 6k digital 
postprod., prod, mgmt 6k college-level teaching exp. 
EO/AA employer; women 6k minorities encouraged 
to apply. R Stekler, RTF Dept., UT Austin, Austin, 
TX 78712. 

ASS'T PROFESSOR: Pitzer College of Claremont 
Colleges offers 3-yr MacArthur Chair in Media 
Studies for Fall '98. Poss. renewal conversion to 
tenure-track. Interdisciplinary curriculum w/ socially- 
responsible, multicultural emph. Candidate will 



60 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



teach history, theory, criticism & prod. 
MFA/Ph.D. w/ expertise in Super-8, screen- 
writing, digital, or video req. Send vitae, 
videos & 3 recom. to: Susan Seymour, Dean, 
Pitzer College, 1050 North Mills Ave., 
Claremont, CA 91711. 

MARKETING INTERNS: Oppt'y for $$$ 
marketing projects w/ Prema Productions, 
incl. features, WWW, docs. Mario Chioldi 
(212) 479-7397; prema l@ aol.com. 

PRODUCTION CREW TRAINEES need- 
ed in Atlanta. Also looking for writers, direc- 
tors, music videos directors trainees. For 
details check out our web site: <www. 
MeccaMotionPictures.com > 

PRODUCTION FACULTY: exp. teacher w/ 
strong knowledge of dramatic/narrative struc- 
ture to instruct professional &. entry levels of 
film/video prod. Seek prof, credentials and/or 
record of accomplishment as ind. filmmaker. 
Duties incl. advising, committee work, thesis 
supervision. Minority, women applicants 
encouraged to apply. Send vitae, work samples 
(publication, reels, scholarly research) w/ 
statement of teaching philosophy to: 
Film/Video Search, Human Resources Dept., 
Columbia College, 600 S. Michigan Ave., 
Chicago, IL 60605. 

Preproduction • Development 

1st RATE BETA EQUIPMENT, crews & 
nonlinear editing (5 seriously fair rates. From 
devel. to completion &. anywhere in between. 
Let Legacy Productions' acclaimed hlmmakers 
ensure your project's success. Steve (212) 807- 
6264. 

GREAT SCRIPTS WANTED: Independent 
producer seeks scripts for development/pro- 
duction. Send scripts, treatments, SASE to: 
Donnelly Film Productions, 263 West End 
Ave., Ste. 12G, NY, NY 10023. 

PRODUCTION POSSIBILITIES: My 

Strange Network of Friends, currently in pre- 
production, deals w/ a young man's search for 
his values 6k identity. Shooting begins Nov. 1 5. 
Still in need of postprod. finances. Julian 
Williams, (718) 597-4152. 

SU-CITY PICTURES EAST PRESENTS: 

The Screenplay Doctor, The Movie Mechanic 
& The Film Strategists. Exp. story 
editors/postprod. specialists provide insight 6k 
analysis for screenplays, treatment, synopses 
6k films-in-progress. Major credits: Miramax, 
Warner Bros., Fine Line, WGA, DGA, IFR 
Multimedia, Adv. Tech., Interactive consulta- 
tions. Competitive rates. Call for brochure: 
(212) 219-9224. 

POSTPRODUCTION 

3/4" SONY SP OFFLINE SYSTEM W/ 
TTMECODE: 9850 deck w/ timecode genera- 
tor/reader, 9800 deck w/ timecode reader, 
RM450 controller 6k two 13" monitors. Single 
deck rentals available for Avid users. 
Negotiable, low rates. (718) 284-2645. 



NEW PCI 




AVR 77 


■:uiin 


400-8000 ™»° c °— ' 

I V V W V V U On-Line/Off-Line 


580 Broadway 

[and Houston] 


Pix Sound Editors 
RECENT FILMS: Friendly Tech Staff 
All Over Me Transfer & Dubs 
Follow Me Home Low Rates 


925.1110 


1 


I Solar 

f PRODUCTIONS 







After Effect 



I JAWI 

Linear & Non- linear editing ■■ 

On line & off line editing 

Digital compositing 

2D & 3D animation 

Audio sweetening 

Graphic & titling 

Special effects 

Duplications 




el / 66 (/ fi & 



Digital Art Video Inc. 

87-1 60Elmhurst Ave. 
Elmhurst, NY 11373 
718-457-5388 

www.digital-art.com 



3D Studio Max 



non-linear video editing 

I Y&CLlCs in the comfort 
of a private edit suite 



component interformat studio: 

betacam-sp,3/4",hi-8,s-vhs 

3d animation/graphics/cg 



Video for Art's Sake 

Independent Post Production 
in the East Village 



Meg Hanley, Editor 

212.254.1106 



The Outpost 

Edit on our Meclia lOO system for just $50 
per hour. That includes an operator, various 
tape formats including Beta SP, Macintosh 
and Arnica i^raphics, and the Video Toaster. 

7 18 -"593 - 2385 



1 1 8 North 1 



>t . Brooklyn NY 



January/February 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 61 




H 



1Pkti 



urn 



• Digital Beta On-Line wl DVE 



• Component DV Transfers 
(We nave the deck) 

• Tape to Disk (Syquest/Zip) 

• AVID w AVR 75, Pro Tools, 36 Gigs 



Arc Pictures 666 Broadway 
Phone: 212 982-1101 



New York NY 10012 
Fax: 212-982-1168 




^S Productions 



$275 for 5 classes 
Mon. & Wed. eves. 
limited to 5 students 

212.254.1106 

email est4j@tiac.net 



non-profit media arts 
organization providing access 
to broadcast quality video 
post-production services for 
artists & independent producers 
at drastically discounted rates. 

- Standby also publishes 
FELIX, A Journal of Media Arts 
and Communication. — "— ~ 



Betacam to D-2 Online Editing $85/hr 



• Audio Post-Production 


$75/hr 


• Nonlinear Editing 


$60/hr 


• CDR Burns 


$30/hr 


• Mass Duplication 


Inquire 


Standards Conversion 


Inquire 



Contact us for other services & membership. 

PO Box 184, New York, NY 10012 
Email : standby© f elixweb . org 
Phone: (212)219-0951 
Fax: (212)219-0563 
www.felixweb.org 



AVID EDIT SUITES 



Off Line 

On Line avr 75 

4 Channel Audio 

3-D Effects 

DLT Back-up _ 



Voice Over 



Boo 



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AUDIO 

PRO TOOLS 

16-Track Digital Audio Suite 

Full Sound Design & Mixing 

Sound Effects Library 



on track video (212)244-0744 

104 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001 



$10 hr VHS SUITE: $20: 5 4"-3/4°. $15: VHS 3 4". 
Open 7 Jays &. eves. Free titles, Amiga & special FX. 
Also: Hi8, A/B roll, S-8 film, dubs, photo, slides, 
stills, audio, prod., editor/training. The Media Loft, 
727 6th Ave. (23rd) (212) 924-4893. 

16MM & 35MM OPTICAL SOUNDTRACKS: If 
you want "High Quality" optical sound for your film, 
you need a "High Quality" optical sound negative. 
Mike Holloway, Optical Sound Chicago, Inc., 676 N. 
LaSalle St., #404, Chicago, IL 60610. (312) 943- 
1771 or eves. (847) 541-8488. 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate &. 6-plate fully- 
equipped rooms, sound-transfer facilities, 24-hr 
access. Downtown, near all subways & Canal St. 
Reasonable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

AVID 8000 & 1000 SUITES: Pleasant, friendly, 
comfortable uptown midtown locations or delivered 
to your studio. On-line & off-line, AVR 27, Protools, 
reasonable & affordable rates. (212) 595-5002 or 
(718)885-0955. 

AVID MCXPRESS: Latest version, off-line/on-line. 
D2 quality. N'eg. rates to suit your budget. Fast editors 
i-ailable. Beautiful, comfortable location; 25th &. 
Fifth Ave. (212) 633-9469. 

AVID MCXPRESS FOR WINDOWS NT w real- 
time effects, AVR 77 plus, 27 gigs, Beta SP 3 4, Hi8, 
SVHS. S3 50 day includes experienced, artistic editor. 
Manhattan location. Neg. long-form rates. David 

[Chmura (212) 388-9373. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY: Film-to-tape masters. 
Reversal only. Reg. 8mm, Super 8, or archival 16mm 
to 1" or Betacam SR We love early B&W &. 
Kodachrome. Scene-by-scene only. Correct frame 
rates. For appt call (978) 948-7985. 

DOWNTOWN PRODUCTION office for rent, 
400 sq. ft., 4-line phone svstem w voicemail, separate 
fax line, copier, TV/VCR, cable. We cater to ind. 
tilm videomakers. Broadway'Houston area. Weekly/ 
monthly. High Voltage Productions. (212) 295-7878. 

I MEDIA 100 EDITING w 36 gig HD (a $200/ day. 
Adobe AfterEffects & Deckll Audio software. Source 
from Beta, Hi8 & VHS; audio from DAT, CD & cas- 

I sette deck. Professional building on Bleecker- B'way. 
Jay (212) 598-3035. 

MEDIA 100 EDITOR: Accomplished visual story- 
teller will edit on your equip, or in my fully-equipped 
project studio. Credits: several narrative projects, 
major ad agencies (Young &. Rubicam, Warwick 
Baker & O'Neill, Seiden Group), accounts (Johnson 
&. Johnson, Arm & Hammer, PSE&G), and corp. 
projects (Equitable, USA Today, CUNY, SUNY). 
Studio w/ Media 100XS (300KB), 54GB storage. 
Beta, Scanner, DAT, Photoshop, Illustrator, After 
Effects. John Slater (800) 807-4142. 

NONELNEAR EDITING SYSTEM w bdest quali- 
ty output & editor for $45 hr! Let my 15 vrs of 
film video prod. & postprod. experience work 
towards perfecting vour short long form project. Eves 
& wknds. too. DMP Prod. (212) 967-1667. 

TRANSLATIONS & TRANSCRIPTIONS: Terra 
Firma Media provides foreign language services & 
tape transcriptions for media projects. Translations, 
voiceovers, interpreters, transcriptions. Terra Firma 
Media (212) 477-0688; Imontalvo(<( aol.com. 



62 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



NOTICES OF RELEVANCE TO AIVF MEMBERS ARE 
LISTED FREE OF CHARGE AS SPACE PERMITS. THE 
INDEPENDENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT FOR 
LENGTH AND MAKES NO GUARANTEES ABOUT THE 
NUMBER OF PLACEMENTS FOR A GIVEN NOTICE. 
LIMIT SUBMISSIONS TO 60 WORDS AND INDICATE 
HOW LONG INFO WILL BE CURRENT. DEADLINE: 1ST 
OF THE MONTH, TWO MONTHS PRIOR TO COVER 
DATE (E.G., MAY 1 FOR JULY ISSUE). COMPLETE 
CONTACT INFO (NAME, MAILING ADDRESS & TELE- 
PHONE NUMBERS) MUST ACCOMPANY ALL NOTICES. 
SEND TO: INDEPENDENT NOTICES, FIVF, 304 
HUDSON ST., 6TH FL, NY, NY 10013. WE TRY TO BE AS 
CURRENT AS POSSIBLE W/ INFORMATION, BUT 
PLEASE DOUBLE-CHECK BEFORE SUBMITTING 
TAPES OR APPLICATIONS. 



Competitions 

MONTEREY COUNTY FILM COMMISSION 
SCREENWRIT1NG CONTEST: Open to writ- 
ers who have not yet sold scripts to Hollywood. All 
genres & locations accepted. First prize: $1,500. 
Entry fee: $40. Deadline: Jan. 31. Rules 6k entry 
forms under "local events" at: 

<http://tmx.com/mcfilm>; or send SASE to: 
MCFC, Box 111, Monterey, CA 93942; (408) 646- 
0910. 

NEW CENTURY WRITER AWARDS: 

Competition open to screenwriters, playwrights, & 
writers of short fiction. Prizes totalling $4,000 
available to top three entries. $25 application tee. 
Deadline: January 31. For app., contact: New 
Century Writer Awards, 43 B Driveway, Guilford, 
CT 06437; (203) 458-2900; omicronworld 
(5 snet.net. 

NATIONAL MEDIA OWL AWARDS: 

Retirement Research Foundation accepting entries 
for annual competition. Work must deal w, aging 
issues, be produced in the .S. & released copyright- 
ed in 1997. Four categories: ind. film & video, TV 
nonfiction, training films 6k videos, community 
videos. First prize: $5,000; second prize: $2,000; 
honorable mention: $1,000. Deadline: Feb. 6. 3/4" 
or 1/2" VHS-SP cassette must accompany official 
entry form. Contact: Ray Bradford (773) 714-8080; 
bradtord(« rrt.org; <www.owlawards.org> 

SET IN PHILADELPHIA: Screenwriting 

Competition recognizes exceptional screenplays 
that involve Philadelphia 6k encourage production 
of feature films in Philadelphia area. Deadline: Jan. 
12. Contact: Philadelphia Festival of World 
Cinema, 3701 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 
19104; (215) 895-6593, fax: 895-6562; pfwcC" lib- 
ertynet.org. 



Conferences • Workshops 

AFRICAN FILM ACCESS: Participate in Vues 
d'Arrique, the largest festival of recent African 6k 
Creole film 6k video, by improving your French 
while exploring contemporary African, Caribbean 
6k Asian Francophone cultures. Daily workshops 
w/ visiting African filmmakers, discussion grps., 



unlimited festival pass, partial meal plan, hotel acco- 
modations, festival concerts. Weekend and full fes- 
tival programs in Montreal from April 23 to May 3. 
Contact: Julia Schulz, (207)594-1084; 
<http://www.mint.net/ ~blevine/Vues_Afrique/> 

ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE 

sponsored by NYSCA 6k NYFA. To be held Mar. 26- 
29, 1998 in Palisades, NY. For info, contact: 
Electronic Media and Film Program at NYSCA, 915 
Broadway, NY, NY 10010; (212) 366-6900 x342; 
ArTeclVfi nysca.org. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

AIR YOUR SHORTS: new public access cable 
show seeks short films to run 6k filmmakers to inter- 
view. No pay, just satisfaction 6k publicity ot having 
films aired. Sean (714) 723-6740; <http://mem- 
bers.aol.com/ShortFilmz > 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE accepting entries 
tor on-going program, The Alternative Screen: A 
Forum )or Independent Film Exhibition and Beyond. 
Send submissions on 1/2" VHS tape. Feature-length 
ind. him, doc. 6s. new media projects wanted. 1800 N. 
Highland, Suite 717, LA., CA 90028. For more info, 
..ill (213) 466-FILM. 

BLACKCHAIR PRODUCTIONS accepting video, 
him and computer-art submissions on on-going basis 
tor monthly screening program Independent Exposure. 
Artists paid honorarium. Looking tor exp., erotic, 
narrative, subversive, animation & doc. works, but 
will screen anything. Submit VHS, clearly labeled 
with name, title, length ssi phone along with SASE if 
want work(s) returned. We will yet back to you. Send 
submissions to: Blackchair Productions, 2 $18 Second 
Ave, #313-A, Seattle, WA, 98121. Info details: 
(206)977-8281, joel(« speakeasy.org; 
< wuw.speakeasy.org/blackchair > 

CINELINGUA SOCIETY seeks short 6k feature- 
length European films on video for language project, 
pteterably without subtitles. We desire only limited 
rights. Contact: Brian Nardone, Box 8892, Aspen, 
CO 81612; (970) 925-2805; fax: 925-9880; 
briann(4 rof.net; <www.rof.net/yp/cinelingua.html> 

CINEMATOGRAFLA PRODUCTIONS accept- 
ing shorts 6k works-in-progress seeking distribution or 
exposure to financial resources for CLIPS, a quarter- 
ly showcase presented to invited audience of industry 
professionals. Deadline: on-going. Contact: Lou 
Flees, (212) 971-5846; Iou(5 microedge.com 

ESTABLISHED NONPROFIT GALLERY review- 
ing membership appls. Benefits: local, national, int'l 
exhibition opps curating 6k arts mgmt. experience, 
participation in dynamic professional network. 
Categories: local, nat'l, video/performance. Submit 
16-20 slides, video, vitae, SASE: Membership Chair, 
A.R.C. Gallery-, 1040 W. Huron, Chicago, IL 60622. 

EXHIBIT YOUR FILMS AT GRAND ILLU- 
SION: Seattle's Northwest Film Forum seeks 16mm 
6k 35mm shorts (60 min. or less) for on-going exhibi- 
tion. Selected works shown before regular program- 
ming at Seattle's only ind. arthouse theater. Send 
video 6k SASE to NWFF c/o Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 
50th St., Seattle, WA 98105. 



NOTICES 

[independent@aivf.org] 



KLNOFIST IMAGEWORKS seeks work of all 
kinds for screenings 6k distribution within 
underground community. DIY, exp. 6k activist 
work encouraged. Send VHS, SASE to Kinofist 
Imageworks, Box 1102, Columbia, MO 65205; 
dmwF92(3 hamp.hampshire.edu 



I 



NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TELEVISION seek- 
ing story proposals from U.S. citizen or permanent 
resident minority filmmakers for National 
Geographic Explorer, award-winning doc series. To 
request appl. tor CDP (Cultural Diversity Project), 
call: (202) 862-8637. 

NEW YORK FILM BUFFS: film society promoting 
indie films seeks 16mm 6k 35mm features, shorts 6k 
animation tor ongoing opinion-maker screenings dur- 
ing fall 6k winter seasons. Send submission on VHS 
tape w/ SASE to: New York Film Buffs, 318 W. 15th 
St., New Yotk, NY 10011; (212) 807-0126. 

REAL TV looking tor dynamic videos: news, weath- 
er sports, bloopers, busts, "caught in the act." Real 
TV, syndicated, daily video magazine, will showcase 
compelling videos from around world — from profes- 
sionals as well as amateurs who capture video snap- 
shots of lite in the '90s. Tapes will not be returned. 
Contact: Real TV, Hollywood Center Studios, Stage 
2, 1040 N. Las Palmas, LA., CA 90038; (213) 860- 
0100. 

SOUTHERN CIRCUIT tours indie film 6k video- 
makers throughout Southeast; six artists travel with 
prints 6k present indiv. shows at designated sites. 
Artists receive round trip air fare, advance check of 
$100 per diem during tour, $275 honorarium per 
screening. To be considered for 1998-99 Southern 
Circuit, submit VHS, Beta or 16mm film (appr. 1 hr. 
in length, can be cued for a 30 min. section for judg- 
ing purposes), application, printed promo materials 6k 
resume (7 pgs max, w/ last name at top right of each 
sheet). Works-in-progress not accepted. Application 
fee: $20. Deadline: Jan. 15. Contact: Felicia Smith, 
South Carolina Arts Commission, Media Arts 
Center, 1800 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201; (803) 
734-8696; fax: 734-8526; fsmith(5 scsn.net. 

SUDDEN VIDEO call for entries. Ind. curators seek 
short works. Looking tor experimental works that 
approximate emotional tone of events that inspired 
their production. Works should be under 10 min. 6k 
avail, on videotape for exhibition/distribution. Send 
submissions on VHS 6k SASE to: Gort/Raad, 17 
Edward Ave., Southampton, MA 01073. 

TREATMENTS FOR DOCUMENTARY FILMS 

not more than 10 pgs, sought by working ind. doc. 
filmmakers. Contact: Cinnabar Pictures, 62 White 
St., NY, NY 10013; (212) 334-6838. 

UNQUOTE TV: 1/2-hr nonprofit program original 
music that suits all film 6k video artists, seeks ind. 
doc, narrative, exp, performance works under 28 min. 
Seen on over 40 cable systems nationwide. No pay- 
ment. Submit to: Unquote TV, c/o DUTV, 33rd 6k 
Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19104; (215) 895- 
2927. 

UPLOAD YOUR VISIONS: Sync Internet Video 
Gallery seeks short noncommercial ind. films to 
showcase on Website. Filmmakers must own rights to 



January/February 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 63 




The Films ot Oshima \cioisa 

Images of a Japanese Iconoclast 
Maureen Turim 

"Turim raises critically important issues 
that the existing literature on Japanese 
cinema has been loath to address. Through 
thoughtful and sensitive readings of 
Oshima's films, she acknowledges the 
problematic nature of categories such as 
culture, subjectivity, and identity." 

— William Haver, State University of 
New York, Binghamton 
$50 00 cloth. $19.95 paper, illustrated 



Interviews with Independent 

Filmmakers 

Scott MacDonald 

A Critical Cinema 3 continues MacDonald's 

compilation of personal interviews and 

public discussions with major contributors 

to independent filmmaking and film 

awareness. 

$55.00 cloth. $19.95 paper, illustrated 

taCulturdlFilniniiiking 

A Handbook for Making Documentary 
and Ethnographic Films and Videos 
llisa Barbash and Lucien Taylor 

"The definitive A-Z of documentary 
filmmaking. No stone is left unturned, no 
truth unshared, and fresh insight informs 
every chapter." 

— Mike Leigh, director of Secrets & Lies 
$65.00 cloth. $24.95 paper, illustrated 




At bookstores or order 1-800-822-6657. 

University of California Press 



THE SCHOOL Of THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO 

FILMMAKER 

The School of the Art Institute of 
Chicago seeks faculty member. Full-time, 
tenure track, rank open. Two years teach- 
ing experience at college/university level 
with MFA or equivalent preferred. Ability 
to teach at both the beginning and 
advanced levels, as well as in the First Year 
Program. Currently practicing artists with 
strong exhibition, publication, and/or 
teaching records are encouraged to apply. 
Send resume, sample syllabi, artist's state- 
ment, one-page statement of teaching phi- 
losophy, names and addresses of three 
professional references, and SASE. Films 
by request only. 

Preferred deadline for applications is 
January 15, 1998. Final deadline is 
February 2, 1998. 

Send all materials to: 

Filmmaking Search Committee 

Dean's Office/ind 

SAIC 

37 South Wabash Avenue 

Chicago, Illinois 60603 

SAIC is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative 
Action employer and educator; women and 
minorities are encouraged to apply. 



International Insurance Brokers Inc. 

Formerly Coulter & Sands Inc. 

Discounted Liability 

Insurance 
for AIVF Members 



Contact: Debra Kozee 

Suite 500 • 20 Vesey Street 

New York, NY 10007-2966 

Tel: 800-257-0883 

212-406-4499 

Fax:212-406-7588 

E-mail: staff@csins.com 

http://www.csins.com 



all content, incl. music. Send videos & written per- 
mission to display film to: Carta Cole, The Sync, 443 1 
Lehigh Rd., #301, College Park, MD 20740; (301) 
806-7812; <www.thesync.com> 

VIDEO/FILM SHORTS wanted for local television. 
Directors interviewed, tape returned w/ audience 
feedback. Accepting VHS/SVHS, 15 min. max. 
SASE to: Box 1042, Nantucket, MA 02554; (508) 
525-7935. 

VIDEOSPACE BOSTON seeks creative videos for 
tall ck spring programming. Any genre & length. 
Nonprofit/no payment. Send VHS, Hi8, or 3/4" w/ 
description, name, phone, and SASE to: Videospace, 
General Submissions, 9 Myrtle St., Jamaica Plain, 
MA 02130. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

ARTS-IN-EDUCATION RESIDENCY PRO- 
GRAM, sponsored by Illinois Arts Council, provides 
support to primary & secondary educational institu- 
tions, community colleges 6k. nonprofit local 6k com- 
munity orgs, for artist residencies of one week to 8 
months. Residencies use individual artists, perform- 
ing arts companies or folklorists. Artists must apply to 
be included in AIE Residency Program Artists Roster. 
Decisions for inclusion based upon quality of work 
submitted, record of professional achievement and 
activity 6k teaching and/or residency experience. 
Deadline: Spring 1998. Contact: Illinois Arts 
Council, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 10-500, Chicago, IL 
60601; (312)814-4990; ilarts@artswire.org 

SHORT-TERM ARTISTS RESIDENCY PRO- 
GRAM sponsored by Illinois Arts Council, provides 
funding for Illinois nonprofit orgs, to work w profes- 
sional artists from Illinois to develop 6k implement 
residency programs that bring arts activities into 
community. Residency lasts 1-5 days or hourly equiv- 
alent. IAC will support 50% of artist's fee (min of 
S250/day plus travel; local sponsor must provide 
remaining 50% plus other expenses). Applications 
must be received at least 8 wks prior to residency 
starting date. IAC encourages artists to seek sponsors 
6k initiate programs. Call for availability of funds. 
IAC, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 10-500, Chicago, IL 
60601; (312) 814-6750; fax: 814-1471; ilarts<§ 
artswire.org. 



Publications 

MEDIA MATTERS, Media Alliance's newsletter, 
provides comprehensive listings of NY area events 6k 
opportunities for media artists. For free copy, call 
Media Alliance at (212) 560-2919 or visit web site: 
<http: 'www.mediaalliance.org> 

INTERNATIONAL FILM FINANCING CON- 
FERENCE transcripts available. Topics discussed by 
international financiers, commissioning editors 6k 
producers include: Foreign TV as a Source for 
Funding, Int'l Distributors, Finding US Dollars and 
How to Pitch Your Idea. Send $41 to IFFCON J6C 
Ritch St., San Francisco, CA 94107; (415) 281-9777. 

GUIDE TO TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR FILMS 
SHOT IN NY STATE avail, to producers who want 



64 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



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Year's subscription to The Independent • Access to all plans and discounts • Festival/ 
Distribution/Library services • Information Services • Discounted admission to seminars • 
Book discounts • Advocacy action alerts • Eligibility to vote and run for board o{ directors 

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All the above for two individuals at one address, with 1 subscription to The Independent 

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All the above benefits, except access to health insurance plans • 2 copies of The Independent 
• 1 free FIVF-published book per year • Complimentary' bulk shipments of The Independent 
to conferences, festivals, and other special events • Special mention in The Independent • 
Representative may vote and run for board of directors 



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iverse, committed, 
opinionated, and 

fiercely indepen- 
dent — these are the 
video .md filmmak- 
ers who are mem- 
bers of AIVF. 
Documentary and 
feature filmmakers, animators, experi- 
mentalists, distributors, educators, 
Students, curators — all concerned 
that their work make a difference — 
tind the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, the national 
service organization for independent 
producers, vital to their professional 
lives. Whether it's our magazine, The 
Independent Film & Video Monthly, or 
the organization falsing its collective 
voice to advocate for important 
issues, AIVF preserves your indepen- 
dence while letting you know you're 
not alone. 

AIVF helps you save time and money 
as well. You'll find you can spend 
more of your time (and less of yout 
money) on what you do best — getting 
your work made and seen. To succeed 
as an independent today, you need a 
wealth of resources, strong connec- 
tions, and the best information avail- 
able. So join with mote than 5,000 
other independents who rely on AIVF 
to help them succeed. 
JOIN AIVF TODAY! 

Here's what membership offers: 

THE INDEPENDENT FILM & 
VIDEO MONTHLY 
Membership provides you with a 
year's subscription to The Independent. 
Thought-provoking features, news, 
and regular columns on business. 



technical, and legal matters. Plus fes- 
tival listings, funding deadlines, exhi- 
bition venues, and announcements of 
member activities and new programs 
and services. Special issues highlight 
regional activity and focus on subjects 
including media education and the 
new technologies. 

INSURANCE 

Members are eligible to purchase dis- 
counted personal and production 
insurance plans through AIVF suppli- 
ers. A range of health insurance 
options are available, as well as special 
liability, E&O, and production plans 
tailored for the needs of low-budget 
mediamakets. 

TRADE DISCOUNTS 

A growing list of businesses across the 
country offer AIVF members dis- 
counts on equipment and auto 
rentals, film processing, transfers, 
editing, and other production necessi- 
ties. Plus long-distance and overnight 
courier services are available at spe- 
cial rates for AIVF members from 
national companies. In New Yotk, 
members receive discounted rates at 
two hotels to make attendance at our 
programs and other important events 
more convenient. 

CONFERENCE/SCREENING 
ROOM 

AIVF's new office has a low-cost 
facility for members to hold meetings 
and small private screenings of work 
for friends, distributors, programmers, 
funders, and producers. 



INFORMATION 

We distribute a series of publications 
on financing, funding, distribution, 
and ptoduction; members receive dis- 
counts on selected titles. AIVF's staff 
also can provide information about 
distributots, festivals, and general 
information pertinent to your needs. 
Our library houses information on 
everything from distributors to sample 
contracts to budgets. 

WORKSHOPS, PANELS, AND 
SEMINARS 

Members get discounts on events cov- 
ering the whole spectrum of current 
issues and concerns affecting the 
field, ranging from business and aes- 
thetic to technical and political top- 
ics. Plus: members-only evenings with 
festival directors, producers, distribu- 
tors, cable programmers, and funders. 

ADVOCACY 

Members receive periodic advocacy 
alerts, with updates on important leg- 
islative issues affecting the indepen- 
dent field and mobilization fot collec- 
tive action. 

COMMUNITY 

AIVF sponsors monthly member get- 
togethers in cities across the country; 
call the office fot the one nearest you. 
Plus members are carrying on active 
dialogue online — creating a "vittual 
community" for independents to 
shate information, tesources, and 
ideas. Another way to reach fellow 
independents to let them know about 
yout screenings, business services, and 
other announcements is by renting 
our mailing list, available at a dis- 
count to members. 



clear instructions on how to claim numerous tax 
exemptions avail, in NYS. Put together by Empire 
State Development Corp., 51-page ref guide can be 
obtained by contacting NY State Governor's Office 
or the Tax Office. NY State Governor's Office for 
Motion Picture and Television Development, 633 3rd 
Ave., 33rd fl., NY, NY 10017-6706; (212) 803-2330; 
fax: 803-2369; <www.empire.state.ny.us/ mptv. 
htm> 

INTERSECTING IMAGES: THE CINEMA OF 
ED EMSHWILLER: pioneer of ind/exp cinema &. 
co-founder of AIVE Catalog of Emshwiller's work, 
$12 in store or $15 by mail, avail, at Anthology Film 
Archives, 32 2nd Ave. at 2nd St., NY, NY 10003; 
(212) 505-5181. 



Resources • Funds 

CALIFORNIA ARTS COUNCIL offers various 
grants & programs for film &. mediamakers. Contact: 
California Arts Council, 13001 I St., Suite 930, 
Sacramento, CA 95814; (916) 322-6555; (800) 201- 
6201; fax: (916) 322-6575; cacCcwo.com; 
<www.cac.ca.gov > 

CHECKERBOARD FOUNDATION awards 
$5,000-10,000 for video projects to NY State resi- 
dents w/ previosuly completed video work. Contact: 
Checkerboard Foundation, Box 222, Ansonia 
Station, NY, NY 10023. [ ] 

CREATIVE PROJECT GRANTS: Subsidized use 
ot VHS, interformat &. 3/4" editing suite for ind. cre- 
ative projects. Doc, political, propaganda, promotion- 
al &. commercial projects not eligible. Editor instruc- 
tor avail. Video work may be done m combination w 
S-8, Hi8, audio, performance, photography, artists, 
books, etc. Studio includes Amiga, special effects, 
A&.B roll, transfers, dubbing, etc. Send SASE tor 
guidelines to: The Media Loft, 727 6th Ave., NY NY 
10010; (212) 924-4893. 

EXPERIMENTAL TELEVISION CENTER pro 
vides grants and presentation funds to electronic 
media/film artists and orgs. The program provides 
partial assistance; max. amount vanes. Presentations 
must be open to public; limited-enrollment work- 
shops and publicly supported educational institutions 
ineligible. Appls reviewed monthly. Contact: 
Program Director, ETC, 109 Lower Fairfield Rd., 
Newark Valley, NY 13811; (607) 687-4341. 

ISLAND MEDIA INTERNATIONAL offering 
postproduction grant to directors who wish to use 
Avid. Four awards given to fiction, doc, narrative 
short 6k doc. short. Awards: $3,000 of Avid editing w/ 
editor for features; $1,500 of Avid editing w, editor 
for shorts. Deadline: Jan. 31. Contact: Island Media, 
(212) 252-3522. 

KODAK PRODUCT GRANT offered through Int'l 
Doc Association. No deadline for 1998 submissions. 
Applicants must be IDA members residing in U.S. 
Full-time students not eligible. Only docand nonfic- 
tion projects may apply. Project's proposal must be 
accepted in IDA's Fiscal sponsorship program w/ orig- 
inal video budget. For more info, contact Grace 
Ouchida at IDA: (310) 284-8422. 

MEDIA ACTION GRANTS provide orgs, with up 




Non-linear 

post-production for the 

independent producer 

AVID Media Composer 1000 

Image compositing 

Computer graphics 

2D and 3D animations 

Voice over booth 



212.684.4086 

www.fusionartists.com 



Features | Shorts | Commercials 
Music Videos | Logos 



Incredible Rates ! 



ina^'B 



M ED I A, I NC. 



u 



I 



Award-Winning Edito* 
Avid training 
Multimedia 
Broadcast quality AVR 75 

212.685.3787 

(. Bast 351H it. !*. V. K\ 10016 



SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY 

1 TENURE TRACK 

FILM POSITION 

OPEN 



The Film program in the department of Art 
Media Studies, College of Visual and Perform- 
ing Arts, Syracuse University, is seeking to fill 
f TENURE TRACK position in Film. Applicant 
should be able to teach all levels of 16mm Film- 
making courses in Film History, and Film Theory. 

The applicant must have strong technical skills 
and interests, and be excited by working in a 
Film program noted for narrative and experimen- 
tal production in co-existence with film studies. 
Applicants will also assist in the overall opera- 
tion of the Film program. The department of Art 
Media includes BFA & MFA programs in Video, 
Photography and Computer Graphics. 

This film position requires a candidate with MFA 
with, preferably, two or more years of teaching 
beyond graduate assistant level. 

All applicants should send a letter describing their 
background and interests in film, a resume, and a 
film portfolio on video tape and at least three let- 
ters of recommendation by February 15, 1998. 

SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL 
OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. 

OWEN SHAPIRO Chairman, Film Search Com- 
mittee; Syracuse University; Art Media Studies; 
102 Shaffer Art Bldg , Syracuse, NY 13244-1210. 



NEW DAY FILMS is the premiere distrib- 
ution cooperative for social issue media. 
Owned and run by it's members, New 
Day Films has successfully distributed 
documentary film and video for twenty- 
five years. 

Call 914.485.8489 



http://www.newday.com 



Seeking energetic 
independent makers 
of social issue 
documentaries for 
new membership. 



January/February 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 65 



bctuctions 

11 WEEHAWKEN ST. 
NEW YOHK, NY 10014 
212.691 .1038 



•6 SGI Impact Workstations 

- Indigo 2 R10000 

- 3D Modeling and Animation 

- PowerAnimator and Composer 

- Ascension Motion Capture 

•3 Protools PCI Audio Suites 

- Sound Design 

- ADR, Foley 



■Avid 1000 PCI 



- Resolutions up to AVR 77 

- 3D Effects Module 

- Beta, 3/4", 1/2", DAT, CD 



•Avid 800 (off-line) 



- Resolutions up to AVR 3 

- Beta, 3/4", 1/2", DAT, CD 



• Photoshop, Illustrator and 
After Effects Workstations 






www.glc .com 



Avid 



Classes offered monthly 

Introduction to Media Composer, 
Tips and Techniques, and Media 
Composer Effects. 



The Wexner Center for the Arts is an 
Avid Authorized Education Center 
serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, 
Western Pennsylvania and Kentucky. 

Call for more information 

Maria Troy, 6/4 292-7617 

Wexner Center for the Arts 

The Ohio State University 
1871 North High Street 
Columbus, Ohio 43210 




to $1,000 lor conferences, workshops 6k events 
designed to strengthen upstate media arts communi- 
ties and networking at state -wide level. Events 
should take place between February 16 6k June 30, 
1998. Grant not intended to duplicate funds from 
other sources, particularly NYSCA. Deadline: Feb. 
16. Contact: Media Alliance c/o WNET, 356 W. 58th 
St., NY, NY 10019; (212)560-2919. 

NEW YORK STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS: 
Funding available for electronic media 6k film. 
Deadline: March 2. Available once/year. For appl., 
contact: NYSCA, 915 Broadway, 8th fl., NY, NY 
10010; (212) 387-7000; fax: 387-7164. 

NEXT WAVE FILMS, funded by Independent Film 
Channel, offers finishing funds of up to $100,000 for 
up to 4 films/year. Budgets must be under $200,000. 
Contact: Peter Broderick, President, Next Wave 
Films, 2510 7th St., Suite E, Santa Monica, CA 
90405; (310) 392-1720; paradigmCearthlink.net. 

PANAVISION'S NEW FILMMAKER PRO- 
GRAM provides 16mm camera pkgs to short, non- 
profit film projects of any genre, including student 
thesis. Contact: Kelly Simpson, New Filmmaker 
Program, Panavision, 6219 DeSoto Ave., Woodland 
hills, CA 91367-2601; (818) 316-1000 x220; fax: 
(818) 316-1111. 

SOROS DOCUMENTARY FUND supports int'l 
doc. films and videos on current 6k significant issues 
in human rights, freedom of expression, social justice 
6k civil liberties. Three project categories considered 
for funding: initial seed funds (grants up to $15,000), 
projects in preproduction (grants up to $25,000), pro- 
ects in production or postproduction (average grant 
is $25,000, but max. is $50,000). Highly competitive. 
Proposals reviewed quarterly. For more info, contact: 
Soros Documentary Fund, Open Society Institute, 
400 W. 59th St., NY, NY 10019; (212) 548-0600. 

SPECIAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS offered by 
inois Arts Council. Matching funds of up to $1,500 
to Illinois artists for specific projects. Examples of 
activities funded are registration fees 6k travel for 
conferences, seminars, workshops; consultants fees 
for resolution of specific artistic problem; exhibits, 
performances, publications, screenings; materials, 
supplies or services. Funds awarded based on quality 
of work submitted 6k impact of proposed project on 
artist's professional development. Applications must 
be received at least 8 wks prior to project starting 
date. Call for availability of funds. Illinois Arts 
Council, 100 W Randolph, Suite 10-500, Chicago, IL 
60601; (312) 814-6570; in IL (800) 237-6994; 
ilartsfo artswire.org 

UNIVERSITY FILM & VIDEO ASSOCIATION: 

student grants avail, for research 6k productions in 
following categories: narrative, doc. 6k experimen- 
tal/animation/multi-media. For application info con- 
tact: Prof. Julie Simon, UFVA Grants, U. of 
Baltimore, 1420 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 
21201. 

WOMEN'S FILM PRESERVATION FUND of 

New York Women in Film 6k Television seeking pro- 
posals for funding 6k preservation or restoration of 
American films in which women have had significant 
creative positions. Application deadline: March 15. 
Contact: NYWIFT, 6 E. 39th St., New Yotk, NY 
10016; (212) 679-0870; fax: 679-0899. 



66 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



UPTOWN AVID 

We've Expanded! 

Six New Suites - All New Systems 



OFFLINE/ONLINE 



AVR77 



MC 6.5.2 with 8 channel Input/Output 
Large Beautiful Rooms - Low, Low Rates 
Full Technical Support - Editors Available 

dhree Convenient [locations 



26th 

and 

Broadway 






Bleecker 

and 
Broadway 






91st 

and 

Broadway 






m^mmfflflam®® 



Call Code 16: (212) 496-1118 



P h o t a,g r .a. n h v 

guerrilla video 

Workshops in Photography & Video 
in Prague, July 1998 

Prague. Its name in Czech, Praha, 
means "threshold." Beyond its 

intoxicating array of scenic panoramas, 
in the least expected and most 
unassuming places, its back streets and 
small cafes, you will find its most 
fascinating images. 

In addition to the workshops in 
photography and video, you'll get to 
attend our famous Czech new wave film 
series, and a wide variety of lectures, 
readings, and performances by American 
and European writers and artists. 

Write or call for a complete brochure. 
Let us help you become one of the 
hundreds of artists who have had one of 
the most productive summers of their 
lives in this magical city. 

Write to: Prague Summer Seminars • Bill Lavender, 
Program Coordinator • Division of International 
Education • 115 Education Building • University of 
New Orleans • New Orleans, LA 70148 • Call toll 
free: (888) 291-8685 • email: praguess@aol.com 



Charles 
University 



University of 
New Orleans 



LEARN PILMMAIxING 



WRITE 

DIRECT 

SHCCT 

EDIT 

YOUR OWN SHORT 

FILMS IN 

OUR HANDS-ON 

INTENSIVE 

EIGHT WEEK 

TOTAL IMMERSION 

PROGRAMS FOR 

INDIVIDUALS WITH 

LITTLE OR NO 

PRIOR FILMMAKING 

EXPERIENCE. 

WORK WITH 

16MM ARRIFLEX 

CAMERAS IN 

SMALL CLASSES 

DESIGNED AND 

TAUGHT BY 

AWARD-WINNING 

INSTRUCTORS. 




NEW EIGHT WEEK 



WORKSHOPS START 
THE FIRST MONDAY 
OF EVERY MONTH 
AT THE NEW YORK 
FILM ACADEMY IN 
NEW YORK CITY 
ALL YEAR ROUND. 
TUITION $4,000 

SUMMER 1998 
FOUR AND 
SIX WEEK 
FILMMAKING 
WORKSHOPS AT: 

- NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY 

- PRINCETON UNIVERSITY 

- UCLA 

- YALE UNIVERSITY 

- OXFORD UNIVERSITY 

- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY 

- BERLIN, GERMANY 

- PARIS, FRANCE 



NEW yCRK riLM ACADCHy 

100 EAST 17TH STREET NEW YORK CITY 10003 TEL: 212-674-4300 FAX: 212-477-1414 
WEB PAGE: www.nyfa.com E-MAIL: film@nyfa.com 



A I V F / F 



V F 



January 




Meet & Greet 
Series 

Kino International 
Donald Krim, President 

Kino International is a domestic the- 
atrical and non-theatrical distributor of 
classic, independent and foreign films, 
and has over 300 films and 200 video 
features in its library. Its collection 
ranges from the earliest experiments in 
cinema and a wide selection of silent 
films to the newest films from around 
the world. It has distributed such 
notable films as Daughters of the Dust, 
The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni 
Reifhenstahl, and One False Move. Space 
is limited. RSVP early. Free to ATVF 
Members, $10 others 
Date: Tuesday, January 13 
Where: ATVF Office 
Time: 6:30 p.m. 

RSVP: ATVF hotline (212)807-1400 
x301 

Workshops/ Seminars 
An Evening with Susan 
Lacy and Margaret Drain 

As the Executive Producer of American 
Masters and The 
American Experience, 
respectively, Susan Lacy 
and Margaret Drain are 
amongst the most pow- 
erful and respected producers within 
Public Television. They will give a brief 
history of their award-winning series 
and show clips from programs past, pre- 
sent and in production. This event is 
cosponsored by New York Women in 
Film and Television. For 
more information call (212)679-C 
When: Wednesday, January 14 




Where: The Lighthouse, lllW. 59th 
Street (between Lexington & Park) 
Time: Reception 6 p.m. -7 (open to the 
first 125 people), Panel Discussion 7 
p.m. - 9 p.m. 

Fee: $10 AIVF and NYWIFT mem- 
bers, $15 all others. Pre-payment 
required. Send check, made payable to 
NYWIFT, or credit card information, to 
NYWIFT 6 E. 39th St., J2th Floor, NY, 
NY, 10016-0112. 

Personal Documentary - 
A Panel Discussion 

Moderator Lisa Hsia, Senior Producer 
for NBC's Date/ine, will engage the 
panel in a wide ranging conversation 
on the subject of first-person film/video 
making. Panelists include Judith 
Helfand, A Healthy Baby Girl; Ruth 
Ozeki Lounsbury, Halving the Bones; 
Reno, Reno Finds Her Mom; and Ellen 
Schnieder, Executive Producer of 
RO.V. and creator of the upcoming 
E.C.U (Extreme Close Up) series for 
PBS. This event is cosponsored by 
New York Women in Film and 
Television. For more information call 
(212) 679-0898. 

When: Wednesday, January 28 
Where: The Lighthouse, 111 W. 59th 
Street (between Lexington & Park) 
Time: 7 p.m. -9 p.m. 
Fee: $10 ATVF and NYWIFT mem- 
bers, $15 all others. 
RSVP: Pre-payment required. Send 
check — made payable to NYWIFT — or 
credit card information, to NYWIFT, 6 
E. 39th St., 1 2th Floor, NY, NY, 
10016-0112. 



Members Workshop 
Financial Services for 
Independent Film/Video 
Production Companies 

Sally Ann Weger 

$ Merrill Lynch 
If you're developing an inde- 
pendent production or run 
your own production business 
then this seminar is for you. 
Today's commercial banks are more 
interested in attracting large businesses, 
leaving small to mid-size businesses — 
or the independent low budget produc- 
er — out in the cold. AIVF invites you 
to an informational seminar with Sally 
Ann Weger of Merrill Lynch, who will 
discuss Merrill Lynch's Working Capital 
Management Account ( WCM A) . This 
account combines your business' check- 
ing, funds transfer, investment and bor- 
rowing activities into a single account. 
You spend less time managing your 
account and more time managing your 
productions. This event is for AIVF 
members only. Call the RSVP hotline 
today to reserve your space. 
Date: Wednesday, January 2 1 
Where: ATVF Office 
Time: 6:30 PM. 

Unable to attend? Contact Sally Ann 
Weger at (212) 415-7800 or 1(800) 
999-6371 for more information about 
the WCMA. 



For updated information about these 

and future AIVF/FIVF events please 

visit our website, www.aivf.org, or call 

the RSW/EtaitAnnoicncement Hotline 

(212)807-1400x301. 



68 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



EVENTS CALENDAR 



February 




Meet & Greet Series 
Black Maria Film & Video 
Festival 
John Columbus, Festival Director 

Named after Thomas Edison's film stu- 
dio, The Black Maria Film and Video 
Festival's mission is to "identify, exhibit, 
and reward compelling new indepen- 
dent media, reach audiences in a wide 
variety of settings nationwide, and advo- 
cate exceptional achievement that 
expands the expressive terrain of film 
and video." Selected works are screened 
at over 50 venues throughout the 
United States. 

John Columbus, the founder of the Black 
Maria Film and Video Festival, has been 
a guest curator for the Flaherty Film 
Seminars, acted as a juror tor the NEA, 
been a guest critic-mentor at Rhode 
Island School or Design, and served on 
the Motion Picture Centennial 
Committee of the Edison National 
Historic Site. An accomplished film- 
maker in his own right, he is currently 
finishing a new short film entitled 
Corona. Space is limited for this event. 
RSVP early. Free to ATVF Members, 
$ 1 others 

Date: Thursday, February 5 
Where:ATvT Office 
Time: 6:30 p.m. 

RSVP: ATVF hotline (212) 807-1400 
x30l 

October Films 

EUGENE HAYNES, Director of Urban 
Acquisitions/Productions 

October Films acquires and distributes 
films theatrically in the US and inter- 
nationally in all media. With over forty 



releases to its credit, October Films has 
established its reputation as a leading 
distributor of high-quality, moderate- 
budget motion pictures.. In 1997 
October Films and Universal Pictures 
concluded an agreement under which 
Universal Pictures has a 51% interest in 
October Films. October will continue 
to operate autonomously. It will 
acquire, market and distribute its films 
theatrically in the US, and in the video 
and tv markets through Universal 
Pictures. 

Eugene Haynes is the Director of Urban 
Production and Acquisitions. He eval- 
uates script packages and completed 
films for production or acquisition. 
Film credits include Girls Town, Kicked 
in the Head and Lesser Prophets. Space is 
limited. RSVP early. Free to ATVF 
Members, $10 others. 
Date: Tuesday, February 10 
Where: ATVF Office 
Time: 6:30 pm 

RSVP: ATVF hotline 212-807-1400 
x301. 

AIVF On-line 



March 




"Film Bytes- 

Stay tuned tor AIVF's monthly online 

webcast show produced by KINOTEK 

at Pseudo.com. For 

more details visit 

AIVF's website, 

www.aivt.org. 

Meet & Greet 

Series 

New Line Cinema 

Amy Henkels, VP Production 

New Line Cinema is a major producer 
and distribution of motion 
pictures that in its twenty- 
nine years in business has 
such films as House Party 

and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle 




series, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, 
and Fine Line's Hoop Dreams. Recent 
films include Mortal Kombat, Friday, 
Don Juan De Marco, M\ Ramify and 
Fine Line's The Incredibly Thue 
Adventures of 2 Girls in Love, and 
Double Happiness. New Line Cinema 
licenses its films to auxiliary markets 
such as cable, broadcast television, and 
the international market, and also dis- 
tributes home videos and has a growing 
television division. 
Ann 1 Henkels has been working with 
New Line tor over 2 years. She was 
Executive Producer on two New Line 
releases: love jones and Money Talks. 
She is currently in development on a 
number of other films, both book adap- 
tations and original scripts. Space is 
limited. RS\'P early. Free to ATVF 
Members, $10 others 
Date: TBA 
Where: AIVF Office 
TimeTBA 

RSVP: AIVF hotline (212) 807-1400 
x301 

AIVF On-line 




UQQ QuO ■■■ 

Ou uCiw flu 

BuQu UUo 



"TAXES, TAXES, TAXES" 

It you're an independent 
media maker who is self- 
employed either full or part 
time then you know that 
filling out your taxes can be hell — what 
should I write off, what can I write off, 
do I fill out the 1040A, 1040, or W 
something. Visit AIVF's on-line forum 
and have your questions answered by a 
professional CPA. AIVF's forums are 
archived and available at the AIVF site. 
When: March 23 - March 27 
Where: wwiv.aivf.org 



January/February 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 69 



llu- Foundation (or Independent Video and 
Film, the cduL.Uion.il affiliate of the 
Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, supports a variety i i programs and 
services ioi the independent media communi- 
ty, including publication of T/ic lide/vide-m, 
workshops, and an information clearinghouse. 
None of thi> would he possible without die 
generous support ot Al\'h rnt-iiibership and 
the following orgai±ations: 

Man Duke Riddle Riundanon, Center (or .Ark 
Criticism, DC Commission, on the Arts and 
Humanities, Hcathcote An Foundation, Albert A. 
List Foundation. John D. and Catherine T Mac- 
Arthur Foundation. Xjuonal Endowment tor the 
Arts. New York State Council on the Arts, 
Rocketeller Foundation, and Andv Warhol 
Foundation tor the Visual Arts, Inc. 

We also wish to thank the following individuals. 

Benefactors: Rircst Creatures Entertainments. 

Patrons: Pamela Calvert; Mary D. Uonnan; Karen 
Freedman; Jettre\ Le\y-Hinte, Btixn L SeigeL Esq.; 
James Schamus. Roger E. Weisberg 

Sponsors: C *Si S, hit 1 Insurance Brokers, Inc.; Lorn 
Ding; Davd W Haas, Dr. V Hufnagel Woman's 
Cable Network; Jim McKav; Leonard Merrill Kun 
Co.. Robb Moss; Jodi Piekott Julio Ribeno, J. B. 
Sass/Letting Go Foundation, Geoge C Stoney Debra 
Zimmerman 

Millennium Campaign Fund Donors 

"Hunks to all uhu have so generoitdy donated w the 

Mtiieimiumm Campaign Fund 
Silver Donors: Barbara Abrash. , .Alan Berlmer, 
Doug Block, Susan Bodine, Esq., Bob Brodsky, Jetf 
Bush, Pamela Calvert, David Camochan, Christine 
Choy, Norman Cowie, Keith Croftord, Jonathan 
Dayton, Helen De Michiel, Loni Ding, Bill 
Einreinhoter, Cassian Elwes, Fanlight Productions, 
Chris Fanna, YaJene Faris, FJm Forum, Bonnie 
Finnegan. Frank rratt.i; >li. Peter Friedman, Fanria 
Gudvb, Barabara Haiiu,ic^ Hears Hampton, Fial 
Hartle\ William Henning, 1 ime> Hebert, Deborah 
Hi ittnian. Ted Hope, Zirana I tsn am Ticia Kane, Dai 
Sil Kii:. -Gibscr.. Michael G. Kindle. Terry Lawler, 
Rube Lerner, Peter Lewnes, Mark Lipman, 
1 •:.. o? Loewinger, Ci..:L- M icFaiiand. Jim 
McKay. R. >bh Moss.MrhelNej p lire, John O'Bnen, 
Oct. 'her Films, Oft She: l Pictures, Eloise Payne, 
Anthony PeraricfK. Minn Pickering Robert 
RichteT, Rk> S. McEhvee, JoFin Schwartz, Vivian 
is'Kiiack, James stark. George CStoney, Helen 
Mnalei; Toni Treadwav Mark dusk, Barton Weiss, 
S nii ATfaerfeJS Lauren Z-ikcmck, Gei Zanrzinger 
Golden Donors &c Millennium Campaign 
Committee Members: 
Ralph Arlyck.John B.ird Manubs, Peter Buck, C- 
Hundred Film Corp., Hugo Cassirer, Martha 
Coohdge, Homeoox Office Inc., Nik Ives, Tom 
LeG'tt. Bill Jersev. Dune Markroiv; Leonard Merrill 
Kurz, David &. Sandy Picker. R.E.M. Athens, LLC, 
James Schamus, Michael Stipe, Robert E. Wise 
{not complete lists) 



MEMORANDA Continued from p. 71 

Brooklyn, NY 

When: 4th Tuesday of each month; call for time 

Where: Ozzie's Coffeehouse, 7th Ave. & Lincoln 

PI. 

Contact: Glenn Francis Frontera, (718) 646-7533 

Chicago, 1L 

When: 4th Tuesday of the month, 6:30 p.m. 
Where: The Star Bar, 2934 Sheffield 
Contact: Oscar Cervera, (773) 472-1000 

Cleveland, OH 

Call tor date and location. 

Contact: Annetta Marion, (216) 781-1755 

Dallas, TX 

When: 3rd Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m. 

Where: Call (or locations. 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 823-8909 

Denver/Boulder, CO 

When: Call for dates. 

Where: Kakes Studio, 2115 Pearl St. 

Contact: Diane Markrow, (303) 449-7125 or Jon 

Stout (303) 442-8445. 

Houston, TX 

When: Last Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m. 

Where: Call (or locations. 

Contact: Houston Film Commission Hotline, 

(713) 227-1407 

Kansas City, MO 

When: Second Thur. of each month, 7:30 p.m. 
Where: Grand Arts, 1819 Grand Blvd. 
Contact: Rossana Jeran, (816) 363-2249 

New Brunswick, NJ 

Call for date and locations. 
Contact: Allen Chou (908) 756-9845 

Norwalk, CT 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Guy Perrotta, (203) 831-8205 

Sacramento, CA 

call tor dates and locations. 

Contact: Armond Noble, (916) 457-3655 

San Diego, CA 

Call tor dates and locations. 
Contact:: Carroll Blue, (619) 594-6591 

Seattle, WA 

Call for dates and locations. 
Contact: Joel Bachar, (206) 282-3592 

St. Louis, MO 

When: Third Thursday of each month, 7 p.m. 
Where: Midtown Arcs, 3207 Washington St. 
Contact: Tom Booth, (314) 776-6270 

Tucson, AZ 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Beverly Seckinger, (520) 621-1239 

Washington, DC 



Call for dates and times. 

Where: Herb's Restaurant, 1615 Rhode Island 

Ave., NW 

Contact: DC Salon hotline (202) 554-3263 x4. 

Westchester, NY 

Call for date and locations 

Contact: Bob Curtis, (914) 741-2538; 

reel 11(5 aol.com 



AIVF ADVOCACY 

Direct Broadcast Satellite Panel 

The 1992 Cable Television Consumer 
PROTE-ction and Competition Act requires 
that Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) providers 
allocate, or set-aside, 4 to 7% of their capacity 
for "non-commercial programming of an edu- 
cational and informational nature" [see "Up 
For Grabs," Oct. '97Independent]. How* inde- 
pendent mediamakers can get a piece of this 4 
to 7% was the topic of the September 26 panel 
discussion "Direct Broadcast Satellite," held in 
Washington, D.C. at the Mark Wechsler 
Theatre ot American University. 

The event was sponsored by AIVF and 
Libraries for the Future (LFF), co-sponsored by 
AIYF's DC Salon and AU's School of 
Communication, and endorsed by 14 other 
local nonprofit media organizations. 

Moderated by Cynthia Lopez of LFF, the 
panelists were FCC Deputy Chief Rosalee 
Chiara; AU associate professor (and frequent 
Independent contributor) Patricia 

Aufderheide; attorney Gigi B. Sohn of the 
Media Access Project; James N. Horwood of 
Alliance for Community Media (ACM); J. 
Maurice Travillian, assistant state superinten- 
dent for libraries for the Maryland State 
Department ot Education; and David Pelizzari 
of The Annenberg/CPB Project at the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

While the panelists did their utmost to 
maintain an air of optimism about the potential 
for independent media gaining access to DBS, 
the optimism was not contagious. There were 
prevailing concerns from audience members 
that independent producers and others lacking 
the economic and political resources of the 
broadcasting, telecommunications, and enter- 
tainment industries might be left out in the 
cold. 

According to the FCC's Chiara, DBS opera- 
tors such as DirecTV, USSB, and EchoStar 
(which presently serve 5 million US sub- 
scribers) are seeking to limit the mandated set 
aside to 4% in order to better compete for cable 
TV's 67 million households; the operators also 
want editorial control ot programming and the 
right to decide on carriage. She also suspected 



70 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



DBS providers would attempt to make certain 
commercially produced programs (The Learning 
Channel, Animal Planet, etc.) eligible for the set- 
aside in order to meet the 4-7% quota without 
having to turn to independent mediamakers. 

Sohn joined the ACM and National 
Association of Telecommunications Officers and 
Advisors in opposing any DBS operator involve- 
ment in programming decisions, pushing instead 
for the establishment of a nonprofit clearinghouse 
(funded but not controlled by the DBS industry) 
with a governing body composed of educational, 
arts, and public service people unaffiliated with 
any DBS operators. Horwood of ACM explained 
the background of public, educational, and gov- 
ernmental ("PEG") channels in cable TV and dis- 
cussed the marginali:ing of public access channels 
in general. 

Aufderheide provided a historical overview of 
communications legislation and how FCC-man- 
dated "set-asides" led to the establishment of pub- 
lic TV and radio. "I want to make an argument 
that it really is very important to fund noncom- 
mercial uses [in DBS]. Public TV wants to take all 
the space," said Aufderheide. 

Panelists Travillian and Pelizzari were limited in 
their contributions since neither represented orga- 
nizations currently invoked in direct broadcast 
satellite activity. Pelizzari didn't help matters by 
urging aspiring DBS producers to make "lovable" 
programming and, shortly thereafter, stunning the 
crowd with the cloving Captain Kangaroo-style 
observation that "Television is not a wasteland — 
it's a wonderland!" 

Sohn stressed the importance of AIVF mem- 
bers and independent mediamakers writing letters 
to the FCC stating what they would do it given an 
opportunity to produce programming tor DBS. 
Nevertheless, observers could not help but ques- 
tion whether the FCC was even willing to listen to 
non-corporate interests considering its own histo- 
ry as absentee landlord in radio, TV, and cable leg- 
islation entotcement. 

Max J. Alvarez « a Washington, DC-based writer and 
editor of the AIVF quarterly newsletter, The Salonista 

Visit AIVF's advocacy page on our website for more 
information. To contact the FCC directly write, 
phone.or email. FCC , 2000 M Street, NW, Rm 509. 
Washington, DC 20554; (202) 4/8-2 J 19; Fax: 418- 
0765; bcarter(i-i fcc.gov; www.fcc.gov 



[www.aivf.org] 



[Independent articles] 



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[advocacy updates] 



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Editorial 



January/February 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 71 



AlVFhappenings 



BY LESLIE A. FIELDS 



MEMBER NEWS BROADCAST 
TEIGIT California Open 
Enrollment 



^ 




IEIGIT is required by California 
Insurance Department regula- 
tions to otter .1 30-day open 
enrollment period once each 
year tor the CIGNA Health Plans to all California 
members of TEIGIT associations. During the 
open enrollment period, any California resident 
member who applies will be automatically be 
accepted, reyardlc^s of medical history, provided 
the applicant was an AIVT member in good 
standing prior to the start of the open enrollment 
period. Open enrollment starts Jan. 1, 1998 and ei\ds 
Jan. 30. 1998. For details, contact TEIGIT at 
B86-7504; (212) 758-5675; tax: (212) 888- 
4916; or write TEIGIT at 845 Third Avenue, NY, 
NY 10022. 

AIVF Member Benefit 
Workshop 

Sally Ann Weger, Merrill Lynch 

It you are one of the many independents with 
your own production company, or it you are work- 
ing on a single picture and want to better handle 
your banking accounts, then join us as Sally Ann 
Weger talks about Merrill Lynch's Working 
Capital Management Account, a cash manage- 
ment and financing service that could be perfect 
for your independent production. This event is 
open to AIVF members only. To RSY'P call (212) 
807-1400 x301. Please see AIYF Event Calendar 
on page 68 for more detailed information. 
When: Wednesday, ) an. 21, 6:30 p.m. 
Where: AIVF Office 



Trade Discount Update 

The Sync Online Network [add "new" icon] 
4431 Lehigh Road #301, College Park, MD 
20740; (301) 806-7812; < www.thesync.com/>; 
contact: Carla Cole. The Sync is an Internet 
Audio Video Cybercasting company and offers a 1 0% 
discount to AIVF mernfcers jor live and on-demand 
internet video encoding. They can put up a trailor or 
an entire film. 

Diva Edit (formerly Suite 2410) 
330 West 42nd Street, Suite 1510, NYC, 10036; 
(212) 947-8433/Contact: Robert Richter. Diva 
Edit offers a 10% discount on all editing services: 
AVID 1000 and 800 with Film Composer. 



Film Friends 

16 East 17th Street. NYC, 10003; (212) 620- 
0084 Contact: Jav Whang. 
729NE 71st Street. Miami, FL 33138; (305)757- 
9038 Contact: Mik Cribben. Film Friends offers 
f/ <m extensive range of equipment rentals: 
camera, video, lighting, sma\d, grip & Steadicam. 

AIVF IN-HOUSE 

Staff Updates 

AIVF welcome-- Marya Wethers, a 1997 graduate 
from Mount Holyoke College and AIVFs new- 
Membership Assistant. Her mission.' Help 
LaTrice and Leslie get the membership office into 
tip-top shape. 

Screening/Conference Room 

Available 

AIVF offers a screening/conference room for a 
small fee to AIVF members only. It comes 
equipped with a conference table, 1/2" VCR and 
3/4" VTR, and a Sony 32" television. The room 
holds up to 25 people and is ideal tor small private 
screenings and or group meetings. Available 
weekdays, weeknights, and some weekends. 
Contact Leslie Fields at (212) 807-1400 x 222 for 
more information. 

Not Receiving Your 
Independent? 

It you have any problems receiving The 
Independent or questions regarding your AIVF 
membership, please call LaTrice Dixon or Marya 

Wethers, (212)807-1400x236. 



AIVF EVENTS 
Meet & Greets 

These are opportunities for members to meet pro- 
ducers, distributors, hinders, programmers, and 
others to exchange information in an informal 
atmosphere at the AIVF office. Free to AIVF 
members; $10 for others. Space is limited. RSVP 
required: (212) 807-1400 x 301. Please specify 
event and leave your name, phone number, and 
membership number, it applicable. 

January 

Donald Krlm, President 

Kino International Corporation 

When: Tuesday, fan. 15, 6:30 p.m. 

Februar y 

John Columbus, Festival Director Black 



Maria Film & Video Festival 
When. Thursday, Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m. 

Eugene Haynes, acquisitions 

October Films 

When: Tuesday, Feb. 10, 6:30 PM 

March 

Amy Henkels, VP Production 

New Line Cinema 

When: tba 

For more detailed information about these and 
other events please refer to the AIVF/FIVF 
Event Calendar on page 68 or visit our website, 
www.aivf.org. 

On- Line Action 

As AIVF implements its on-line programs we 
encourage members and nonmembers alike to 
visit the site, participate in our forums, and stay 
current on our advocacy efforts. AIVF on-line: 

www. aivf.org. 



ON LOCATION 

Monthly Member Salons 

This is an opportunity for members to discuss 
work, meet other independents, share war sto- 
ries, and connect with the AIVF community 
across the country. Note: Since our copy dead- 
line is wo months before the meetings listed 
below, be sure to call the local organizers to con- 
firm that there have been no last-minute 
changes. 

Albany, NY 
When: 1st Wednesday of each 
\ r***2Z7 month, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Fiorders Books 6k. Music, 
WolfRd. 
Contact: Mike Camoin, (518) 895-5269 

Atlanta, GA 

When: Second Monday of the month, 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Manuel's Tavern (North 6k Highland) 
Contact: Genevieve McGillicuddy, IMAGE 
(402) 352-4225 

Austin, TX 

When: Last Monday of the month, 8 p.m. 
Where: Electric Lounge, 302 Bowie St. 
Contact: Ben Davis, (512) 708-1962 

Boston, MA 

Call tor dates and locations. 

Contact: Susan Walsh, (617) 965-8477 




72 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 1 998 



Discover the secret of how two kids from Vermont with no education or experience became Independent Filmmakers. . . 

How To Take The First Steps Toward Producing Your Own Independent 
Feature Film (On A Shoestring Budget) and Selling it For A Profit 

You Don 't Need to Spend A Whole Lot of Time and Money on a Fancy Film School Education. 

You Don 't Need to be "Connected" in Hollywood. 

Read this story to find out how you can get your filmmaking career into high gear. 



Rutland. VT- Hello. Our names are Peter Beckwith 
and David Giancola. We are independent filmmakers. 
Picture this: You make a film this year. It gets picked up 
and distributed. You make some money and get to make 
another film next year. Before you know it, you're mak- 
ing your living as a filmmaker. That's exactly what we 
did and you can do it too! It really can be that simple! 

They Laughed At Us When We Said We Were 

Going To Make Movies, But They Don't Laugh 

Anymore! 

Ten years ago. we decided to make a film. We started 
to make the typical overtures to Hollywood. Submitting 
scripts. Trying to get talent attached. Trying to develop 
I interest from "the people who real- 
ly matter" ... Blah! Blah! Blah! 
Just like you probably have, we 
got a lot of B.S. from a lot of peo- 
ple who called us "babe." No 
thanks! We decided to make the 
film ourselves. "Time Chasers.' 

I the film we expected to complete 
Peter Beckwith, 30 .. . i t- i 

in six months took us five long ex- 
tremely painful years. Our original $40,000 budget bal- 
looned to over $80,000. We made every mistake in the 
book. The film just barelv broke even over the next two 
years. But. we were determined to keep going. We near- 
ly killed ourselves convincing people to invest in our sec- 
ond film. "Diamond Run." We had learned some impor- 
tant lessons. We hit the SI 20.000 
budget right on the money and our 
distributor had contracts to recover 
our budget before the film was 
even completed. The film went on 
to sell very well over the next two 
years and lead to our 3rd film 
"Pressure Point" which we shot for 
$325,000. We've already got 
enough sales to recover our budget and we've 
more projects in the pipeline! 





David Giancola. 28 

ot three 



Making Your First Film Can Be A Wonderful 
Experience If You Know What You're Doing 

It would have been nice to have someone around 
when we started "Time Chasers" who could have steered 
us clear of all the B.S. and filmmaking landmines we ran 
into. Five years is a long time to work on one film. We 
wouldn't wish that on anybody. If we'd known what 
steps we needed to take before we started making our 
film, that never would have happened. 

Only 5% of Independent Filmmakers Make 
Their 2nd Film 

The reason for this is that most new filmmakers don't 
get their first film sold. Many more filmmakers would 
get their films sold if thev knew what steps to take (from 
the very beginning) to give their film the best chance at 
profitable distribution. The steps are pretty simple, but 
very few new filmmakers know what they are. 

We've put together a straightforward 45 minute video 
program called "How To Take The First Steps Toward 
Producing Your Own Independent Feature Film (On A 
Shoestring Budget) and Selling it For A Profit." When 
you watch it, you will discover the secret of getting 
vour film done on a shoestring budget without sacri- 



ficing any of vour creative vision . And then learn the 
exact steps you need to take so that vour film will be 
readv to be sold as soon as it is finished. 



Success Stories Of Other Filmmakers Using 
Our Concepts 

"Because of Peter and David. I know exactly how I am 
going to make mv movie. I'm very confident that it will 
be sold and because so many of my questions are already 
answered before I start. I can concentrate solely on 
achieving mv creative vision." 
■Craig Conklin, 1st Time Director, New York, NY 

"I encourage you to call (Peter and David). I once said 

that it would take a miracle to fix '"Sugar Cain" We 

found the closest thing to miracle workers in (Peter and 

David)." 

-Kipp Tribble, Producer/Director "Sugar Cain," 

Greenville, S.t . 



Launching Your Career As A 

Filmmaker Is Certainly Worth A Lot More 

Than $24.95 Isn't It? 

As anv working filmmaker knows, making a good 
film is the best feeling in the world. It gives you excite- 
ment, respect, gratification, prestige, money, and most 
important of all. the fulfillment of your dreams. The pos- 
sibilities are boundless if you know what to do. Now. 
you can discover how to take those crucial first steps to- 
ward producing your own independent feature film (on a 
shoestring budget! and selling it for a profit! 

Look at How Much Just A Few Concepts Could 

Be Worth To You 
These concepts, along with man) ethers, are covered in 

detail in our video: 

1. Preparing Technical Delivery Elements. On average, 
the cost savings to filmmakers who consult with us on 
this one point before thev produce their film is between 
$4,900 and $24,900 \\ e ca\ er it in detail in our v idea 

2. The Secret of Independent Film Cash Flow. We used 
this concept before we made Pressure Point to raise an 
extra $130,000! And. our distributor estimates that we 
will make an extra $75,000 to $100,000 from Pressure 
Point sales because we also used this concept to negotiate 
with talent. 

3. How To Find An Honest Distributor. We have met 
over 20 filmmakers in the last two vears who trusted their 
films to the wrong people and never saw a dime from 
their distributors. The budgets on those films ranged 
from S50.000 to $750.000... and the filmmakers lost it 
all. We'll give you a guaranteed way to make sure that 
doesn't happen to you. 

4. How To Develop Relationships with Investors So 
They Are Actually Eager to Support You. Yes, you can 
do this. We have seen many filmmakers turn this con- 
cept into tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

5. Understanding The Potential of Overseas Markets. 
This point will propel your career forward. It will help 
you tap into many, many emerging markets for your 
work. Understanding these markets could double the 
gross sales of vour film. 



To Wrap This Up... 

You're going to love being an independent filmmaker. 
You'll never dread going to work on Monday again. In- 
stead, you'll be excited about your job. Most times, we 
can't believe we actually get to GO TO WORK AS 
FILMMAKERS. Why shouldn't you be able to enjoy the 
creative and financial freedom of being a successful film- 
maker? We understand that you might be a little appre- 
hensive or skeptical about what we've said and we can 
understand that. There were times when we started out 
when we wondered if we would ever make it. but we did 
and were no more talented than you are. We're just a 
couple of guys living in Vermont who were willing to 
work hard and learn from our mistakes. Because you 
will have our expertise to draw on. you'll discover how- 
to work smarter, not harder. So check out this video. We 
give you a FULL ONE YEAR SATISFACTION 
GUARANTEE. If you don't think the video is worth 
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A SPECIAL BONUS: If you order in the next 10 
days we'll give you a FREE filmmakers start-up tele- 
phone consulting session. One of us will speak to you 
personally for up to 30 minutes about getting your ca- 
reer moving. You can ask us any question you want. 
We usually charge $75 for these sessions. 

This 45 minute video entitled "'How To Take The 
First Steps Toward Producing Your Own Independent 
Feature Film (On A Shoestring Budget) And Selling It 
For A Profit" is available to you now for only $24.95. 

Act Now! If vou would like to pay by credit card, call 
1-800-345-3325 to order by phone. Or fill out the order 
form below and fax this page to 802-773-3481 or mail it 
to: Edgewood Studios 162 North Main Street. Rut- 
land, VT 05701. Your credit card will be billed S29.95 
($24 95 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling). If you 
would like to pay by check or money order, fill out the 
order form below and send it along with your check or 
money order for S29.95 (S24.95 plus S5.00 for shipping 
and handling). Make the check out to Edgewood Stu- 
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Street, Rutland. VT 05701. Attn: Peter Beckwith. 
We will mail your tape out to you first class mail the day 
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A S S D C 



T I D N 




INDEPENDENT V I D E AND FILMMAKERS 



Arthur Dong 

Documentary Filmmaker 
Licensed to Kill 




{\n r i 



? effor 

helped brin? ITVS 

"^- into being an 

ITVS helped me fu 

Coming Out Under F 

AIVF supports 
truly independent wor 

and I'll alw 
support them." 



£) 



d 

'r?, 



ill) a 



Photo; Tom LeGoff 



NamE. 



Address. 
City 



Home Phone- 



Design: Nik Ives 



want to support the. Foundation for Independent Video and Film's Millennium Campaign Fund. 



Enclosed is my gift of independence 

in the amoont of: 



State . 



Zip. 



.Business Phone. 



I /We wish to be listed in acknowledgements as: 



J $35 


J 


J $50 


J 


J $100 


J 


J Other 





I and up 
Honorary 
Committee 
Member 



Make your check out to FIVF and return it with this form. For more information call (212] 807-1400. ext. 223. 
The Foundation for Independent Video and Film is a not-for-profit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible. 



the* 



independent 

FBJiSffi) 

March 1998 
VOLUME 21, NUMBER 2 



Publisher: Ruby Lerner 

Editor in Chief: Patricia Thomson 

Managing Editor: Ryan Deussing 

Editorial Assistant: Cassandra Uretz 

Contributing Editors: Lissa Gibbs, Luke Hones, Barbara Bliss 

Osborn, Tommy Pallotta, Rob Rownd, Robert L Seigel, Esq. 

Art Director: Daniel Christmas 

Advertising: Laura D. Davis (212) 807-1400 x 225 



National Distribution: Total Circulation 

(Manhattan) (201) 342-6334; 

Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 

Printed in the USA by Cadmus Journal Services 

POSTMASTER: Send address charges to: 
The Independent film & Video Monthly, 304 Hudson St, NY, NY 10013. 

The Independent Rim & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is published monthly except 
February and September by the Foundation for Independent Video and Rim (FIVF), a 
nonprofit tax-exempt educational foundation dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film. Subscription to the magazine ($45/yr individual; $25/yr student $75/yr library; 
$100/yr nonprofit organization; $150/yr business/industry) is included in annual 
membership dues paid to the Association ot Independent Video and Rlmmakers (AlVFi. 
the national trade association ot individuals involved in independent film and video, 
304 Hudson St. NY, NY 10013, (212) 807-1400; fax; (212) 463-8519; 
independent@aivf.org; httpy/www.aivf org 
Penodical Postage Paid at New York. NY, and at additional mailing offices. 

Publication of The Independent is made possible in part with public funds from the New 
York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 
Publication of any advertisement in The Independent does not constitute an endorsement 
AJVF/FTVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to the editor Letters may be edited for 
length. All contents are copynght of the Foundation for Independent Video and Rim, Inc. 
Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent The Independent is indexed in the Alternative Press Index 

© Foundation for Independent Video A Rim. Inc. 1998 

AIVF/RVF staff: Ruby Lemer, executive director; LaTnce Dixon, membership/advocacy 
assistant; Leslie Relds, membership coordinator; Jodi Magee, development consultant 
Johnny McNair, information services coordinator; Tommy Pallotta. webmaste ; , Leslie 
Singer, director of administration; I Wang,, membership associate. 

AJVF/FTVF legal counsel: Robert I. Freedman, Esq., Leavy, Rosensweig & Hyman 

ATVF/RVF Board of Directors: Todd Cohen*, Lorn Ding (co-president). Barbara Hammer, 
Ruby Lerner (ex officio), Graham Leggat Peter Lewnes, Richard Linklater, Cynthia 
Lopez*, Jim McKay, Diane Markrow (secretary), Laala Matias*. Robb Moss (chair), 
Robert Richter (treasurer), James Schamus* Barton Weiss (co-president), Susan 
Wittenberg (vice president). 
* fW Board of Directors only. 



I 



N 



I 



D E 



March 1998 



FEATURES 

28 Love It or Leave It: Picking a Film Lab 

We've all been there: the little guy who processes film in dribs and drabs, the lowest man 
on the totem poll in the film lab's hierarchy of priorities. Or so it seems. But being a strug- 
gling independent doesn't mean you can't get a lab's respect, or its best work. 

by David Giancola 



30 "A film by....": 

An Interview with Andrew Sarris 

Film critic Andrew Sarris, who authored 
the auteur theory 35 years ago, assesses its 
impact on cineastes ever since. 

by Marion Wolberg Weiss 



32 Deja New: '60s Verite Meets the '90s 

A major series organized by Film Forum shows cinema verite to be more inclusive than 
most of us realize, digging up little-seen gems by women, Canadians, and blacks, in addi- 
tion to the household names. 

by Deirdre Boyle 





2 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



Cover: A youthful Mick Jagger in the Maysles brothers' verite classic, Gimme Shelter. In "Deja New," author and scholar Deirdre Boyle takes a fresh look at the "direct cinema" 
films, famous and unknown, of the Sixties. Photo courtesy Film Forum 



MEDIA NEWS 



9 Media Network Folds 

A prominent information clearinghouse and fiscal sponsor since 
the early eighties, Media Network closes its doors. 

by Maud Kersnowski 



10 Femme Fests Unite in Europe 

Why compete when you can collaborate? Women's fests take a 
women's approach, and the result may help all. 

by Karen Rosenberg 



11 LAIFF Lines up Funds for 
Lucky Few 

The Los Angeles Film Collaborative 
introduces its new Production Grant 
Program. 

by Emily Neye 



DISTRIBUTORS FAQ 



14 Lions Gate Films/CFP 

With a new name, new distribution 
head, and full slate, Lions Gate 
comes out roaring. 

BY LlSSA GIBBS 





21 Bless the Beasts: 

The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival 



Natural history film- 
makers on the prowl for 
buyers and coproducers 
can find fertile hunting 
grounds at this festival. 

by Carl Mrozek 





26 Where's the 
Alternative? The Media 
& Democracy Congress 

When progressive journalists 

and media activists came 

together at this second annual 

congress, they weren't always 

speaking the same language. 

We asked participants: Where's 

the common ground? 

by LaTrice Dixon 



TALKING HEADS 

36 Glen Salzman & Magnus Isaacson; Michael 
Almereyda; Wayne Wang 

by Maureen Marovitch, Anthony Kaufman & 
Hank Kim 



FIELD REPORTS 




16 Tracking the Hamptons 

Now in its 5th year, this festival still 

hedges on the question: industry 

action or tourist attraction? 



by Ryan Deussing 



18 Let It Snow: 

The Denver Film Festival Turns 20 

While events were snowed out and memory lane ice-covered, 
Denver managed to show its pioneering grit during this year's 
anniversary edition. 

by Will Annett 



WIRED BLUE YONDER 



40 

Sev 

Wld 




^th Arrives, Slowly 



ng techn< 'logic- promise filmmakers the ba 

by Adam Pincus 




42 Storytellers Embrace the Web 

Already a resource, the Web is also growing into a promisin§ 
new medium for experimentation and entertainment. 

by Laura Knott 



44 



IN & OUT OF PRODUCTION 



FESTIVALS 



TICES 



CLASSIFIEDS 



F HAPPENINGS 



March 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 3 



The Independent Feature Project 
in association with the 
Writers Guild of America, East 

presents 




IFP 



Sponsored by 

Forensic Films and 
The Village Voice |^gg§ 



With additional support from 
Fine Line Features/New Line Cinema 



From Script 

To Screen 

A conference on screenplay development 

March 27-29, 1998 

The Beigel Screenplay Award 

$5000 for Most Promising Screenplay 

Script Submission and Registration Deadline: March 20, 1998 

For a brochure and application form call the Independent Feature Project at (212) 465 8244 ext: 801. 
or download from IndieLink, IFP's website www.ifp.org. after February 1, 1998. 




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LETTERS 



7b the editor: 



I Hey, guys, get a geography lesson [Ohio 
River Valley spotlight, November 
1997]. The western half of West 
Virginia is in the Ohio River Valley 
region. In fact, the Ohio River is legal- 
ly within the West Virginia borders along the Ohio 
state line! Toledo and Cleveland are on the shores 
of Lake Erie, South Bend is near Lake Michigan, 
Appalshop is on the eastern edge of Kentucky. 

Our Morgantown filmmakers are on the banks 
of the mighty Monongahela River, which forms 
the Ohio with the confluence of the Allegheny at 
Pittsburgh. Less than 60 miles upstream from the 
Ohio on the great Kanawha River live a number of 
interesting West Virginia filmmakers, and the 
West Virginia International Film Festival just fin- 
ished showing 18 features in Charleston, with 
guest artists and all. You did not even put West 
Virginia on your little map. Is that because we are 
still in the "Wilderness," are the only state that is 
totally within Appalachia, or the Ohio River has 
only one side? 

Robert E Gates 
President, West Virginia Filmmakers Guild 

To the editor: 

I greatly enjoyed [guest co-editor] Julia Reichert's 
story on filmmakers in this part of the world. I was 
glad to see that she even included various festi- 
vals. Unfortunately, she forgot to include all the 
amazing things going on just east of the Ohio 
River, especially in West Virginia. It was nice that 
she included Appalshop, which is one of the lead- 
ing media arts centers in the world, but definitely 
not near the Ohio River. What is much closer is 
the West Virginia International Film Festival, now 
13 years old, located in Charleston on a tributary 
to the Ohio, the Kanawha River. 

There are many fine filmmakers in West 
Virginia, including Robert Gates, who is celebrat- 
ing the 20th anniversary of his first documentary, 
In Memory of the Land and the People; Danny Boyd, 
director of three independent features now being 
re-released by Troma Films; Jacob Young, director 
of one of the most intense documentaries made in 
the last decade, Dancing Outlaw; and the other 
documentarians at Morgantown Public TV, who 
have made more than a dozen fine films during the 
last decade, including the million-dollar history of 
the state, West Virginia: A Video History. 

I myself have been purchasing the finest 16mm 
and VHS films during the last 19 years, showing 
them to millions of viewers all over West Virginia. 
In 1987 we helped John Sayles make Matewan, 
National Public Radio did a 10-minute story on 
our collection, and the U.S. Dept. of Education 
under William Bennett made us the model 



statewide media program in public libraries. 
Gates and I are founding board members of 
OVRMAC, but have not been active for a while. 
Clearly the editors haven't kept in touch with 
West Virginia. I will have to invite you down to 
our spring documentary film festival, held annu- 
ally here in the State Cultural Center. 

Steve Fesenmaier 
Head, West Virginia Library Commission 

The editor responds: 

Thanks for the invitation! That will allow us to 
start doing research for a future regional spot- 
light that will include West Virginia, along with 
the mid-Atlantic states. 

Yes, West Virginia could easily have been 
grouped into the Ohio River Valley issue. But we 
decided against it because of space limitations 
and the desire to not dilute coverage by embrac- 
ing too large a territory. It's true that when plan- 
ning these regional spotlights our geographical 
parameters are not textbook accurate. They're 
simply ways to organize coverage in broad group- 
ings as we work our way around the country. 

Since we don't want to cherry-pick cities, 
we've made a concerted effort to balance our 
coverage between production-heavy urban areas 
and the spread-out rural sections where media- 
makers also live, often in greater obscurity. So far, 
we've had special issues spotlighting the cities of 
Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston; the state of 
Texas; and the Rocky Mountain, Pacific- 
Northwest, and Ohio River Valley regions. In the 
case of the Rocky Mountain region, Arizona 
could have fallen into this territory (depending 
on whom you asked), or it could have gone into 
an issue on the Southwest. Again, for space con- 
siderations, we ultimately opted for the latter. 

So where does a place like Appalshop fit? 
Sure, it's a fair distance from the Ohio River, 
especially when you're behind the wheel. But 
when you're sketching out an editorial map, an 
issue on the Ohio River Valley seems an appro- 
priate time to include them — as well as the 
Wexner and NBPC in Columbus, festivals in 
Indianapolis and even Cleveland, experimental 
filmmakers in Kent, and so on. 

The great thing about these regional issues 
and letters like yours is that they demonstrate 
just how lively the independent scene is through- 
out the country — and that's a heartening sign. 

Julia Reichert responds: 

I hail my old friends Steve Fesenmaier and 
Robert Gates for filling readers in on the marvels 
of filmmaking in West Virginia. Some of the very 
best OVRMAC meetings took place in that 
proud, beautiful, and very quirky state. There is 
definitely a kinship across the Ohio River that is 
long and deep. Thanks for the reminder. 




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MEDIA NEWS 



EDITED BY RYAN DEUSSING 




I 



Prospects Bleak for Fiscal Sponsorship 



The unexpected November closure of Mh >i -\ 
Network, a major fiscal sponsor tor documen- 
tary tilms, has substantially altered the land- 
scape of nonprofit film financing. Over the 
past two decades the organization worked 
with hundreds of films, including Mackv 
Alston's Family Name, soon to air on PBS, 
and Michael Uys and Lexy Lovell's Riding the 
Rails, which premiered at Sundance in 1997. 
Media Network was one of the few fiscal 
sponsors available for such independent doc- 
umentaries, and the organization's shoes will 
be hard to fill. Emerging filmmakers will be 
especially hurt by this closure, because of the 
unique support Media Network offered them. 

The importance of Media Network in the 
film world arose from its key role in the com- 
plex process of film funding. When a film- 
maker receives a tax-exempt grant, whether 
from a private donor or a government agency 
(such as the NEA or NEH), the filmmaker 
cannot accept the grant directly and have the 
money maintain its tax-exempt status. 
Federal law requires that such grants be 
donated only to nonprofit entities. Checks 
are processed by a nonprofit (501C5) corpo- 
ration that has agreed to act a fiscal sponsor 
tor the project. The funds are then passed on 
to the filmmaker, less a fee (Media Network 
collected between five and seven percent). 

Marc Weiss, who currently heads PBS's 
P.O.V. series, originally conceived of Media 
Network in 1980 as an information clearing- 
house for issue-based films with subjects such 
as the environment, reproductive rights, 
racism, and domestic violence. When it start- 
ed out, the organization's main activity was a 
topical database of films that it made avail- 
able to grassroots organizations. Weiss 
describes the organization he founded as "an 
information and education organization with 
an activist agenda." In the mid-eighties, after 
Weiss left the organization, its energies were 
gradually shitted toward production assis- 
tance in the form of fiscal sponsorship. 




Documentaries on social issues, like Family Name, will be forced to look elsewhere for fiscal 
sponsorship now that Media Network has closed. Photo: Brooke Williams, Opelika Pictures 



Media Network also incorporated services 
other fiscal sponsors did not have the time or 
facilities to include, such as tracking individual 

NEA and NEH grants, offering advice on fund- 
ing sources, and aid in negotiating the complex 
world of fund-raising. These support and coun- 
seling services, which are crucial to neophyte 
filmmakers, are increasingly difficult to find. 
"Media Network put an emphasis on giving 
filmmakers more tools with which to negotiate 
the fund-raising landscape," says Weiss. "If 
those services aren't replaced, it could have a 
devastating effect on emerging filmmakers." 

Ironically, the dedication to service that 
made Media Network so special was a key fac- 
tor in the organization's demise, according to its 
last executive director, T Andrew Lewis. A 
rapid decrease of public funding in the nineties 
caused the grants allocated to individual media 
projects — and thereby Media Network's 
income — to shrink. Primarily a fiscal sponsor, 
the organization was directly tied to the dollar 
amounts brought in by filmmakers' grants. 
Over the last two years, funds processed by the 
organization dropped by approximately $2 mil- 
lion. The amount of labor required for each 
project, meanwhile, remained constant. Media 
Network's fund-raising activities ultimately 



tailed to bring in 
the cash needed 
to keep the orga- 
nization afloat. 
Meanwhile, a 
dispute with the 
staff's labor 

union at a cru- 
juncture 
reorgani- 
plans, 
Blanca 
Vasquez, chair- 
person of Media 
Network's Board 
of Directors, 
believes could 
have rescued the 



cial 
halted 
zation 
which 



organization. 

Unfortunately, fiscal sponsorship is not a reli- 
able source of income, even by the standards of 
the precarious nonprofit world. Sponsorship is 
labor intensive and unpredictable. Media 
Network's lack of diversification and its depen- 
dence on the diminishing sponsorship fees 
made it particularly vulnerable to a downturn in 
media funding. "There's no question, if you 
depend solely on fiscal sponsorship, it often 
doesn't pay the bills," says Kevin Duggan, New 
York Foundation for the Arts' assistant director 
tor artists' services. 

Filmmakers will ultimately foot the bill tor 
Media Network's dangerous dependency on fis- 
cal sponsorship fees. The corporation's closure 
was accompanied by the announcement that 
only 80% of the funds on deposit could be 
immediately returned. A month later, a letter 
sent to filmmakers confirmed rumors that the 
other 20% had been spent in an unsuccessful 
attempt to save the organization. Although 
Media Network is currently fundraising and 
hopes to return the filmmakers' money, it seems 
unlikely that all the money will be returned any 
time soon. At least one filmmaker has filed a 
civil lawsuit naming not only the corporation, 



March 1998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 9 



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"Filmmakers 
are going to 
have to file a 
law suit" 
says Weiss. 
"That's what 
I would do, 
file a class 
actio 



ywcr*. | "' rrn ^Kt 



but also past and present board 
members as liable for his lost 
funds. "Filmmakers are going to 
have to file a law suit," says Weiss. 
"That's what I would do, file a 
class action suit." 

Although other organizations 
rallied to shoulder the projects 
dropped by Media Network, it's 
doubtful they can absorb them all. 
Other fiscal sponsors, such as 
Women Make Movies, Third 
World Newsreel, and New York 
Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), 
present much stricter criteria than Media 
Network did. NYFA, for example, would be 
unlikely to sponsor a purely informational film. 
Women Make Movies, meanwhile, a large fiscal 
sponsor of films by and about women, does not 
consider projects that fall outside of those para- 
meters. The controversial work Media Network 
was able to assist will now have a hard time 
finding fiscal sponsorship, especially in the cur- 
rent political climate. "They were a big advo- 
cate of social change," says director Macky 
Alston. "They were the only general issue fiscal 
sponsor." 

Remaining fiscal sponsors will be forced to 
expand their sponsorship programs if they are 
to pick up the slack left by Media Network's 
closure. NYFA is uncertain about how much 
they can help. "We're already operating at 
capacity," says Duggan. "We won't be able to 
offer a haven for all the clients who worked 
with Media Network. " With fewer slots avail- 
able, obtaining a fiscal sponsor will become an 
increasingly competitive process. In the near 
future, it may become more expensive as well. 
"There's no way that the existing groups can 
accommodate everyone," says Women Make 
Movies executive director Debbie Zimmerman. 
"But we're going to try." 

Maud Kersnowski originally reported on Media 

Network's closure for indieWIRE [www.indiewire. 

com]. She has worked in film & television production 

for over 10 years and is currently studying journalism at 

New York University. 

Femme Fests 
Unite in Europe 

The idea of a Forum of European Women's 

Film Festivals was initiated in Dortmund, 
Germany, when Silke Rabiger, the director of 
Dortmund's ll -year-old Femme Totale fest, 
decided that there must be a way for festivals to 
work together, rather than competing for fund- 
ing and audiences. Together with the Festival 



International de Films des 
Femmes in Creteil, France, 
Femme Totale invited 16 
women's festivals to Dortmund 
for a three -day conference in 
September, 1997. 

Representatives from 14 festi- 
vals were able to attend the 
forum, where they created a net- 
work linking organizations from 
as far away as Spain to Belarus. 

Although film festivals vary 
considerably — some produce 
conferences, publications, and 
film screenings between festivals, while oth- 
ers only operate a number of weeks a year — 
they face similar challenges planning, orga- 
nizing, and launching their events. Women's 
festivals often run into tough questions. 
"What is our task? How has it changed? 
Who is our audience?," Rabiger asks. 

Discussion at the forum touched on vari- 
ous aspects of festival organization that 
could benefit from an annual meeting and 
exchange of ideas. One experience many 
women's festivals in Europe seem to share is 
the aging of their audience. Rabiger notes 
that audiences are increasingly middle-aged 
(except at the two lesbian festivals in the 
forum, the Lesbenfilmfestival Berlin and 
Bologna's Immaginaria Lesbian Film 
Festival). With this in mind, future discus- 
sion will be dedicated to ideas about attract- 
ing other generations of festival-goers. 
Emphasis will also be placed on the impor- 
tance of programs aimed at young people, 
which can help introduce new viewers to the 
concept of a film festival. Participants at the 
first forum also raised other relevant ques- 
tions: Will a festival in a glamorous, modern 
location — like the nicest movie theater in 
town — have an easier time finding a public 
and funding? Do English subtitles or English- 
language films (with no translation provid- 
ed) scare a broader public away from festivals 
in non-English-speaking Europe? Then 
there's the thorny theoretical question of 
what makes a festival in Europe "European." 
Immigration is changing old concepts of 
identity on the continent, but this theme is 
still relatively neglected at film festivals. One 
proposal at the Dortmund conference was 
that women's film festivals pay more atten- 
tion to works that fall outside the boundaries 
of typical festival programming, such as films 
by or about immigrant women in Europe. 

Many of the issues that the forum 
addressed are more practical in nature. "We 



10 THE INDEPENDENT March 1 998 



want to exchange fundraising and organiza- 
tional information as well as ideas on films," 
says Rabiger. One suggestion that came out of 
the conference was to bring in freelancers who 
have worked at other women's film festivals, so 
that festival staff can share experience through 
a sort of cross-pollination. Joint projects such 
as a film archive and film packages are also 
being considered. It may be possible to share 
mailing lists, or dialogue transcripts and their 
translations, which would save individual fes- 
tivals time and 



Women's 
tests often 
run into tough 
questions... 
What is our 
task? How 
has it chan- 
ged? Who is 



1!' 



money. 

At this point, the 
structure of the 
forum is intentional- 
ly loose. The focus is 
on communication 
and facilitating the 
exchange of ideas 
and programming 
plans. A forum Web 
site is being set up, 
and a mailing list is 
already available. 

"There was a lot of opposition Co forming a 
parent organization," recalls Rabiger, "and 
after two to three years of working together, it 
will be clearer if one is necessary." Forum par- 
ticipants can use next year's conference — 
which is tentatively slotted to take place in 
Minsk — to review and evaluate the first year 
of cooperation. 

Forum of European Women's Film Festivals, c 
femme totale e. V, Kulturbiiro det Stadt Dortmund, 
Kleppingstr. 21-23, D-44122 Dortmund, Germany; 
011-49-231-502-5162; -2497 (fax); femmeto- 
tale(§ compuserve.com; www. inter-net-work. de 

Karen Rosenberg is a cultural critic and fiction writer 
who publishes m North America and Europe. 



LAIFF Lines up Funds for 

Lucky Few 

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package. By combining financial assistance 
with industry support and recognition, the 
program's organizers, Robert Faust, Linda 
Kelly, and Karen Kirkland, hope to supply 
struggling director/producer teams with far 
more than just a material quick-fix. While the 
package is continually evolving, Panavision, 




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Kodak, Imperial Bank, and CF1 
arc among the companies that 
have already made tirm com- 
mitments to providing award 
contributions, ranging from 
cash advances to significant 
donations of goods and ser- 
\ ices. 

Before the winners ^et the 
goods, however, they will have 
already received valuable access to the industry 
professionals involved in the selection process. 
Upon their receipt, all scripts will go to a panel 
of readers who will provide professional cover- 
age. Based on their cumulative scores in four 
categories (character, structure, dialogue, and 
story), selected proposals will go on to the next 
set of readers. Ultimately, five projects will be 
presented to a jury. As Faust describes it, "The 
jury is a panel of people who can actually help 
with their projects — even if it's not selected, 
they can say, 'I read this script, you guys should 
take a look at it,' and pass it around the com- 
munity." 

The jury will consist of five individuals: pro- 
ducer and producers' representative Jonathan 
Dana; John Sloss, an attorney and executive 
producer who currently represents Kevin Smith 




FILM 



COLLABORATIVE 



and Ed Burns; Bandera 
Entertainment's Beau Flynn, 
who produced The House of Yes 
and Little Ciry; Michelle 
Manning, the president of pro- 
duction at Paramount Pictures; 
and William Morris agent 
Bobbi Thomson. 
Faust also emphasizes the pro- 
gram's commitment to assisting 
winning filmmakers in screening their films the 
best way possible. "If the timing of the film is 
such that it is suited to have a special sidebar or 
showcase screening at the LAIFF, it will have 
one. If it's better for it to go and play Toronto 
or Sundance or somewhere else, then we 
wouldn't hold it back so that it premieres with 
us. And if there isn't a festival that's timed cor- 
rectly, we would probably help in facilitating a 
showcase-type industry screening at the 
Director's Guild or something like that." 

The first Production Grant will be awarded 
on June 12, 1998, with the deadline for submis- 
sions falling on April 17. All entries must be 
budgeted under $ 1 million and must come from 
a first- or second-time director/producer team. 
Proposals should include a completed applica- 
tion, a copy of the screenplay, a complete bud- 



get, a shooting schedule, documentation of 
any cast attachments and financing sources, 
resumes/bios of the key people in the produc- 
tion, and projections for how additional 
financing for the balance of the budget will be 
found. 

While Faust admits that the '98 competi- 
tion is a test run, he's confident that the pub- 
licity the finalists will receive will lead more 
professionals to put both their time and money 
into the Production Grant Program. And judg- 
ing from their experience with the LAIFF — 
which has found an important niche in only 
three years — the LAFC's activities are defi- 
nitely worth watching. 

Emily Neye is an intern at The Independent. 



ERRATA 

Several errors appeared in "Inside HBO" [December 
1997]. .Andy Abrahams Wilson is the director of 
Bubbeh Lee & Me; the article misidenrified him as 
Abraham Wilson and the film as Bubbeh Lee. 
Maryann DeLeo was producer/director, along with 
Jon Alpert, of High on Crack Street, and has produced 
and directed several other documentaries for HBO. 
The film Out at Work was selected as a finalist for the 
series PO.V, but not included in the final slate, as 
stated in the article. It was eliminated from consider- 
ation after PBS refused to air it. The Independent 
regrets these errors. 



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DISTRIBUTOR FAQ 



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I 





Lions Gate Films 
(formerly CFP) 
561 Broadway, Suite 
12B, New York, NY 
10012; (212) 966-4670; 
fax: (212) 966-2544. 
Contacts: Michael 
Paseornek, Productions 
President; Mark Urman, 
Releasing President 

What is Lions Gate 
Films? 

Lions Gate Films was formerly Cinepix Film 
Properties (CFP). Then we were bought, 
became a wholly owned subsidiary of Lions 
Gate Entertainment, went public, and got new 
jackets. Lions Gate Films is a unique indie in 
that we produce 10 films a year, distribute 1C 
films theatrically each year, have a home video 
division, an animation group, and an interna- 
tional division that acquires films and distrib- 
utes our productions worldwide. We have 
offices in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and 
Montreal. 

Best known title in Lions Gate's collection-. 

Well, depending on where you're coming from, 
it could either be Peter Greenaway's Pillow 
Book or Ivan Reitman's Meatballs starring Bill 
Murray. 

Where do Lions Gate titles generally show? 
... at a theater near you .... 



Driving philosophy behind Lions Gate Films: 
It it makes sense, do it, but check your ego 
at the door, count your pennies, and be 
sure to leave a good tip, because in six 
months that waiter might just be the 
talent you're negotiating for. 



What's your relationship to your parent 
company? 

We continue to operate in the same 



14 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



way we did as CFP only now we have access to 
greater financing without waiting in long lines 
at banks. We also get to say that we're part of a 
company that includes Mandalay Television 
and Lions Gate Studios (formerly North Shore 
Studios), Canada's largest backlot/soundstage 
facility. 

Who is Lions Gate Films? 

Senior management: President Jeff Sackman 
Co-Chairmen Andre Link and John Dunning 
Productions President Michael Paseornek 
Releasing President Mark Urman; Senior Vice 
President of Distribution Tom Ortenberg; and 
International President Joe Drake. 

How many employees does Lions Gate Films have? 
About 85 employees are spread out in three 
offices, with another 75-100 working in our 
animation division, Cinegroup. 

How, when, and why did Lions Gate Films/CFP come 

into being? 

Lions Gate Films dates 

back to 1963 with the 

original Cinepix 

founded by John 

Dunning and Andre 

Link. John and Andre 

were two of this industry's 

original independents 




launching a number of important careers in 
the U.S. and Canada, including Ivan 
Reitman's and David Cronenberg's. In the 
late '80s they formed a company with Famous 
Players (thus the FP in CFP), brought in Jeff 
Sackman, and expanded their distribution in 
Canada, including an output deal with 
Miramax. Three years ago and a couple of 
years after parting ways with Famous Players, 
Michael Paseornek joined the team and we 
opened up a U.S. operation in New York in 
order to produce and distribute quality' inde- 
pendent films. Mark Urman began as head of 
Releasing in January of 1998. Today Lions 
Gate Releasing and Lions Gate 
Productions are truly inde- 
pendent U.S. divisions 
with a significant 
U.S. -based inter- 
national divi- 
sion as well. 




What's the 
relationship 
between the 
distribution 
and produc- 
tion arms at 
Lions Gate? 
We talk to 
each other a lot, 



**■ 



share a common philosophy, and use each 
other as a resource and sounding board. 

So, as a rule, do you distribute those films which 
you also produced? 

Up to now, we've sold many of our produc- 
tions to larger entities who were capable of 
giving them wider distribution while also 
helping out with our cash flow. We've also 
had a full slate of titles to distribute and, even 
though we have a terrific distribution team, 



Lions Gat 
include d 

Greenaway's The Pillow Book 
Bob Flanagan and Shere 
Rose's Sick: The Life & Death 
of Bob Flanagan, 
Supermasochist; and Richard 
Kwietniowski's upcoming Love 
and Death on Long Island. 




issues of people-power also came into play. 
As we continue to grow our goal is to distrib- 
ute all of the films that we produce. 

How many works are in your collection? 

Literally hundreds. 

What types of works do you distribute? 

Primarily tull-length feature films, mostly 
narrative, but occasional- 
ly nonfiction. 

Sample of films and film- 
makers you distribute: 

Most recently: Green- 
away's The Pillow Book, 
Greg Mottola's The 
Daytrippers, James Man- 
gold's Heavy, Ben Ross' 
Young Poisoner's Hand- 
book, Kirby Dick's Sick: 
The Life and Death of Bob 
Flanagan, Supermasochist, 
and Guantanamera by 
Tomas Gutierre: Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio. 

Upcoming titles to watch for: 

Love and Death on Long Island, by Richard 
Kwietniowski with John Hurt and Jason 
Priestley; Mr. jealousy, by Noah Baumbach; 



and junk Mail, by Norwegian director Pal 
Sletaune. 

What drives your acquisitions decisions? 
First, we must really like a film to distribute it. 
Second, we must believe that we can market it. 
Third, it must be available at a price that makes 
sense in the current marketplace. 

Is there such a thing as a "Lions Gate" film? 
It's an entertaining film that is accessible to an 
audience, has a shot at winning a festival 
and/or garnering good reviews, and doesn't 
need a studio machine to be successful. 

Where do you find your titles, and how should film- 
makers approach you for consideration? 

We are active at all major festivals and markets, 
but a filmmaker can also call us directly and tell 
us about his/her film. For production, we 
receive hundreds of submissions from agents, 
producers, directors, and writers. If you're a 
filmmaker and have no previous relationship 
with us, contact Carrie Walkup in our 
Development Department in New York, and 
she'll take you through the system. 

Range of production budgets of titles in your collec- 
tion: 

Our films range from $1 to $10 million. In the 
future, I'm certain our productions will be both 
lower and higher budgetu ise. 

Most important issue facing Lions Gate today: 
Creating a strong brand name. 

You'll know that 
you've made it 
as a company 
when . . . 
we don't use 
our frequent 
flyer mileage 
to upgrade to 
tirst class. 

The trickiest 
thing about 
being both a 
producer and a 
distributor is... 
changing the relationship with the filmmaker. 
In production, the filmmaker is the driving 
force and we're providing the support. In distri- 
bution, we're the driving force and the film- 
maker is providing the support. 





Worst distribution experience of late: 

Sick. The critics loved it, but consistently con- 
cluded with, "don't take a date." Not the best 
way to build a weekend audience. 

Best distribution experience of late: 

Daytrippers. A real audience pleaser and the 

director was a pleasure to work with. 

If you weren't distributing films, what would you be , 
doing? 

Watching them. 

Other distributors you admire: 

Miramax, because you can't look at what 

they've accomplished and not be in awe. We 

also admire anyone who makes a living in this 

business. 



The difference between Lions Gate and other distrib- 
utors of independent films is . . . 
when we want to make something happen, we 
have the ability to say "yes" and act quickly. 

Distributor F.A.Q. is a column conducted by fax question- 
naire profiling a wide range of distributors of independent 
film and video. If you are a distributor and want to be pro- 
filed or are a maker and want to find out more about a 
particular distributor, contact Lissa Gibbs c/o The 
Independent, 304 Hudson St., 6th fl., NY, NY 10013. or 
drop an e-mail to: lissa@sirius.com 

Lissa Gibbs is a contributing editor to The Independent and for- 
mer Film Arts Foundation Fest director. 



March 1 998 T H E I N E P E N D E N T 15 



FIELD REPORTS 



J 



I 



Tracking the Hamptons 



Industry Action or Tourist Attraction? 




y Ryan Deussing 

NLY A SMALL 
NUMBER OF FESTIVALS OUTSIDE 
of Sundance have any 
kind of cache with 
the industry, the press, 
or with filmmakers," says 
Hamptons International Film Festival Program 
Director Stephen Gallagher. "For a number of 
reasons, the Hamptons has that potential." 

After five years, however, the Hamptons is 
still waiting to hit its stride. In fact, it seems 
somewhat irregular that such a young festival 
should already be on its third programmer. 
Halfway between a cozy regional event and an 
important New York industry affair, the festival 
has a number of things going for it though, 
including a scenic location that's not far from 
Manhattan and considerable community sup- 
port. Whether the event has the clout neces- 
sary to consistently draw top-drawer films and 
eager distributors remains to be seen. 

Variety's coverage of the 1997 festival sent 
mixed messages. While a story in Daily Variety 
ran under the headline "Hamptons Hurrah," 
the same story appeared in the more widely 
read Variety weekly under the headline 
"Hamptons film fest off A-list." While the story 
mentioned the films Variety found impressive 
(Darren Stein's Sparkler and Mark Schiffer's 
Strong Island Boys), it went on to comment that 
the festival "did not appear to attract the same 
level of industry and media attention as in pre- 
vious years." As for the off-putting headline, 
says Gallagher, "I figure it was a copywriter's 
witty way of slighting an organization they did- 
n't know anything about. It's back-handed flat- 
ten in a way — I didn't know we were ever on 
the A-list." 

A-list or no, the Hamptons remains a festi- 
val w ith a strong program and a bright future. 
Even while the festival caters to an audience of 
deep-pocketed Easthampton residents, it's 
capable of fostering connections between par- 




ticipating filmmakers and industry guests. 

"I thought the whole program was very 
strong," says Elizabeth Schub, whose documen- 
tary short Cuba 15 was invited to both 
Sundance and Berlin after its Hamptons pre- 
miere, where it won the audience award for 
best short film. "I made a lot of contacts and 
had meetings as a direct result of my Hamptons 
screening, but there was a really good balance 
between the industry and community audi- 
ences. It's one ot the best festival atmospheres 
I've encountered." 

"I had a great experience at the Hamptons," 
says Michele Ohayon, whose documentary 
Colors Straight Vp shared the jury award for best 
documentary with Robert Pulcini and Shari 
Springer Berman's Off the Menu and won the 
audience award for best documentary. The jury 
also gave Colors a special citation "for its emo- 
tional resonance and social relevance." 
"Stephen Gallagher has very good taste, and 
the festival was put together well," says 
Ohayon. "They actually organized tor 200 high 
school students to come see the film, which was 



a great idea." Her festival experience wasn't a 
cakewalk, however. "One aspect of the festi- 
val that bothered me was that there was very 
little publicity for the documentaries," she 
says. "The reason you take your film to a fes- 
tival is to get the kind of attention you can't 
get in the mainstream, so it was frustrating 
that the turnout for all the documentaries 
was low. Our press conference was even can- 
celled because too few journalists had signed 
up." 

"No one is more embarrassed than I am 
when we bring a filmmaker halfway around 
the world to an empty theater," responds 
Gallagher. While he acknowledges that the 
festival needs to work harder to promote 
itself, he also points out the difficulty of orga- 
nizing an event that pleases everyone. "Last 
year we played it safe, really, so this year I 
decided the program could be a little more 
edgy. But in the end you have to consider that 
part ot the business of a film festival is selling 
tickets. Unfortunately, really difficult films, 
like Jidu Hanleng's Frozen or Hosszu Alkom 's 



16 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 




The Long Twilight, don't have much ol a 
chance at the Hamptons." 

Roger Nygard, whose documentary 
Trekkies premiered at the Hamptons, credits 
the festival with raising initial interest in his 
film. "I've been to about a dozen festivals, 
and I would rank the Hamptons very high on 
my list. The festival stirred things up quite a 
bit tor us." He does think the test suffers from 
bad timing, however. "Unfortunately, the 
Hamptons happens right on the heels ot the 
New York Film Festival, and at the same time 
as MIFED in Milan, where all the heads ot 
aquisitions go. I get the feeling most ot the 
industry folks that make it to the Hamptons 
aren't aquisitions folks." 

How the industry perceives a festival can 
be crucial, especially for an event that aspires 
to otter more than quaint island entertain- 
ment. "In tact I had very little control, ulti- 
mately, over a lot of the programming, 
because a large number ot films I would have 
loved to show I just couldn't get," says 
Gallagher. "The fact is, distributors, press, 
and filmmakers approach this festival as if it's 
New York City. That can work in our favor, 
except when distributors are reluctant to 
give us films because of the importance of 
New York reviews." 

Several films without distribution deals 
that premiered at this year's festival created 
a lot of buzz, but at press time none of them 
had found a buyer. "A deal with Sparkler is 
imminent," says Gallagher of Darren Stein's 
hilarious comedy about a woman who runs 
away from life in a trailer park to get lucky in 
Las Vegas. Strong Island Boys has screened at 



several festivals after the Hamptons, but like 
The Daytrippers — the Long Island story ot 1996 
that premiered at the Hamptons — the film's 
producers are entering the new year empty- 
handed. 

Five years after it started, the Hamptons 
seems to he a festival tint's more suited to intro- 
ducing new talent to the industry than sealing 
deals. Ot course, this has .is much to do with the 
state ot the industry as it does with the dynam- 
ics ot the Hamptons m particular. "The market' 
place has changed so radically, it's a sea-change 
every year at this point," says Gallagher "The 
market is flooded with independent films that 
open and close in .1 week. Everything is pushing 
towards films with big names and commercial 
sensibility — and even some ot those films .ire 
flopping." 
Ryan Dnessing is managjng editor of The Independent. 




J< 



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LI Commander 

arbara Adams of the 

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the Whitewater jury. 

Courtesy Neo Motion 
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FIELD REPORTS 




Despite a debilitating 

blizzard, the Denver 

International Film Festival 

managed to give a warm 

welcome to its guests on its 

20th anniversary. 

by Will Annett 

Denver's 20th International Film Festival 
will long be remembered as the year the bliz- 
zard hit. Just as the proceedings got underway 
on a Friday night in late October, a violent 
snow storm spilled down from the Rocky 
Mountains. Winds gusted at 50 mph, turning 
the city's wide boulevards into blinding wind 
tunnels. The abandoned hulks of hundreds of 
cars soon littered the interstates. Even the 
city's celebrated "storm proof" airport suc- 
cumbed, grounding thousands of travelers — 
including more than one filmmaker. 

On Saturday morning Governor Roy Romer 
declared a state of emergency. To Ron 
Henderson, executive director of the Denver 
Film Society, it seemed a bitter end to an exhil- 
arating year of preparation and planning. He 
and his staff reluctantly canceled dozens of 
screenings and seminars. Filmmakers — some of 
whom had flown across the world to be here — 
idled in the plush lobby of the Warwick Hotel. 

Blocks away, the Tivoli Center's imposing 
smoke stacks traced vague outlines against the 
gray sky. The theaters inside the former brew- 
ery — now home to a college campus and an 
entertainment center — were dark and silent. 
Henderson's long anticipated salute to 20 years 
of achievement and enrichment of Denver's 
cinema culture lay waste under drifting snow. 

But in a testament to the rugged frontier 
spirit that established the region, somehow the 
festival continued. 

"To my surprise, the storm had some positive 



outcomes," Henderson observed. With a little 
ingenuity and a lot of tenacity, he and his staff 
managed to resuscitate some films and events. 
Gathering a few video versions of movies, they 
set up makeshift screenings in the Warwick's 
small theater. 

"There was a lot of good energy and discus- 
sion," he says. "I think a real bonding experi- 
ence took place as a result of the storm. A lot 
more genuine dialogue took place that might 
not have — or it least it might have taken on 
another form in the originally scheduled pro- 
gram. We discovered that good things happen 
in that small context." 

Sunday morning dawned blue and warm. As 
the roads were cleared, people began trickling 
over to the Tivoli. By late afternoon, the lines 
at the box office lengthened and patrons filled 
the theaters. Despite the weather, the Denver 
Film Festival was back in business. Visiting 
filmmakers delighted in the turn of fortune and 
praised Denver's relaxed and welcoming venue. 

"It's a dream," said Constance Marks, whose 
documentary Green Chimneys won MovieMaker 
magazine's Breakthrough Award for the best 
independent film without U.S. distribution. 
The Breakthrough, which Marks shared with 
Jonathan Kaufer's dark comedy, Bad Manners, 



was one of two new juried events introduced 
at this year's festival. 

"I really feel that one's work is judged for 
what it is," Marks says. "I don't feel that this 
festival is driven by the distributors or the 
buyers. It's driven by people who genuinely 
want to see good film and good work. They're 
here to enjoy themselves." 

Marks' husband, James Miller, who worked 
as camera operator on Green Chimneys, was 
impressed by the attention festival organizers 
lavished on their film. At other festivals, he 
said they often had to pound the pavement to 
gain attention for their work. "In Denver," he 
observes, "we don't have to go postering the 
town." 

Filmmaker Ann Deborah Levy, whose 
experimental short The Fanmaker was fea- 
tured in the festival's short works component, 
concurred. "The support structure here is just 
incredible." For Levy, the greatest benefit of 
coming to Denver was meeting other artists. 
"It's been a great place for me to meet other 
filmmakers and start to feel like I belong to a 
community." 

Robert Celestino attended Denver in 1991 
with his first feature, Candy Store Conspiracy, 
and eagerly accepted the chance to return 



18 THE INDEPENDENT March 1 998 



this year. His latest offering, Mr. Vincent, 
gained high marks at Sundance last year. 
Though grateful for recognition at the presti- 
gious venue, he said he found Denver's inti- 
mate atmosphere more enjoyable. 

"We had some great reviews at Sundance, 
but a lot of people didn't see the film," 
Celestino said. "Without a publicist no one 
knows you're there. In Denver you get more 
of a personal treatment." 

The Denver International Film Festival 
was launched in the spring of 1977 by local 
cinephiles who longed for a more diverse film 
culture. "At the time," Henderson recalls, 
"the whole phenomenon of the arthouse had 
not taken hold in Denver. So there was not a 
real opportunity to see quality foreign films 
and essentially no platform tor independent 
filmmakers and documentary filmmakers in 
particular." 

Strictly a labor of love, the largely volun- 
teer effort floundered in its early years. By 
1981, it was apparent that the youthful orga- 
nization needed a strong guiding hand. 
Henderson, who had served as the festival's 
volunteer public relations director since 
1978, seemed a natural choice tor the job. In 
the early seventies he directed the successful 
(though terminally underfunded) National 
Student Film Festival in New York. With a 
background in journalism and publishing, he- 



possessed plenty of experience and organiza- 
tional savvy. Since then, the festival has grown 
up with the city. 

This year featured more than 150 films, the 
bulk of them by independents. Henderson 
takes considerable pride in Denver's champi- 
oning of independent artists. 

"We were dedicated to showcasing and plat- 
forming independent filmmakers from day one. 
We saw this as part of our mission. Even since 
the Sundance phenomenon we continue to be 
that. We offer an environment that doesn't 
have all of the hype and chaos that other festi- 
vals have become. Filmmakers can still have 
dialogue with their audience and get feedback 
that is more genuine, perhaps, than in the more 
rarefied festival environments. I think Denver 
his remained true to its origins. It's a festival tor 
this community, and it's a festival tor the film- 
makers." 

The festival annually receives between 500 
and 600 entries. Henderson and program asso- 
ciate (and AIVF board member) Diane 
Markrow look tor entries that challenge their 
audiences and present them with perspectives 
rarely seen in mainstream movie theaters or 
commercial television. 

'Tin looking tor work that surprises me," 
Markrow says. "Hither because of its depth or 
understanding tit an issue, or its ability to touch 
people emotionally. Or the way it portrays an 



individual or a situation or a group as being 
real, rather than sensationalized or stereo- 
typed." 

Additionally, Markrow screened more than 
100 video entries this year. Beginning as little 
more than a sidebar curiosity a few years ago, 
Markrow's video section is one of the festival's 
fastest growing elements. 

"It was a new thing to have that many really 
good quality feature-length entries," Markrow 
says. She believes much of this is due to rapidly 
evolving technology. Video, once dismissed as 
film's poor cousin, is coming into its own. 

"The Denver Festival does a great job of 
showing video. We get high-tech projection — 
CEAVCO. The quality on the big screen is fan- 
tastic. Generally, the videomakers are extreme- 
ly pleased with how it looks." 

Markrow's team counters the more distract- 
ing elements of large-screen video presenta- 
tions (such as visible scanning lines) by draping 
netting in front of the screen. To maintain con- 
sistency and quality in video presentations, 
Markrow asks that videos chosen for screening 
he submitted only on Beta SR 

"Another way I think the festival has 
evolved that's been really good, is that it has 
the 35mm, 16mm, and video all in the same 
venue." 

Recognizing Denver's pivotal role in intro- 
ducing Eastern European cinema to the United 




Celebs on parade: Over the years, Denver has drawn numerous big-name attendees. (Counter-clockwise from top right): This year, Errol Morris braved the storm to receive the 
John Cassavetes Award; in 1983, Mayor Federic Pena celebrated opening night outside the Paramount Theatre; Wim Wenders snacked in front of the Ogden Theatre in 1982; and 
Alan Alda held a press conference at the Governor's mansion in 1981. Photos: Larry Laszlo 



March 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 19 



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States, the Polish government helped the festi- 
val establish an annual Krzysztof Kieslowski 
Award for Best European Film. Bertrand 
Tavernier's Capitaine Conan was the first film to 
receive this honor. 

In addition to the juried awards, the festival 
continues to recognize the achievements of 
independent filmmakers with its long-standing 
John Cassavetes Award. This year's winner was 
documentarian Errol Morris. The annual Life- 
time Achievement Award honored the work of 
actor Jack Palance. 

While the festival has long provided a ban- 
quet for the region's cinephiles, increasingly it 
tries to entice broader, generally non-film- 
going audiences with challenging films of a 
socio-political nature. 

"One of the things that attracted me to 
working with Ron and the Denver Film Festival 
is their willingness to show interesting and 
provocative work and not to shy away from 
controversy," says Markrow. "In that sense 
another whole audience emerges — depending 
on what we're showing." 

In keeping with this bold spirit, the festival 
hosted a 25 th anniversary salute to Women 
Make Movies, the nonprofit group that helped 
launch the careers of influential filmmakers like 
Jane Campion and Julie Dash. 

"A lot of women wanted to make films about 
really gut-wrenching subjects that might not 
have been commercially viable. Women Make 
Movies made their visions possible," says 
Markrow. 

In a way, the blizzard of '97 may have been a 
manifestation of Henderson's longing for a 
return to the days of smaller, simpler festivals. 



In the future he plans to scale the festival 
down and "really concentrate on the cream 
of what's available." 

Initially, this sentiment might seem at 
odds with his other ambition: transforming 
the festival from annual event to year-round 
endeavor. Henderson wants to move select 
festival components to other months of the 
year. He believes that once removed from 
the three -ring atmosphere of the annual fes- 
tival, they will develop their own audiences. 

"We'd like to focus on a different national 
cinema every year, so people can really get 
inside of a genre or a national cinema and 
experience it." Toward this end, Henderson 
has created the Jewish Film Festival, slated 
to debut in August. He also plans a 
Children's Film Festival for next summer. 

"I'd like to have our own film institute 
where we could have research and a library 
and a screening room for both our members 
and the general public," Henderson says. 
Henderson may soon get his wish, as interest 
in the film arts and film production grows in 
the Denver region, resources available to the 
Denver Film Society also expand. Though 
Henderson harbors no ambitions of creating 
a mecca like Sundance, the aesthetic values 
he and his staff nurture in Denver are ulti- 
mately just as important to independent 
filmmakers. Independents can rest assured 
that while blizzards of commercialism may 
threaten to freeze film artistry, they will 
always find a warm, welcoming haven in 
Denver. 

Will Annt'tt is a freelance writer in Boulder. He 
writes a film column /or the Boulder W'eekK 



20 THE INDEPENDENT March 1 998 




National Geographies People of the Sea, Jackson Hole's Best Conservation Film and Best ot Festival, documents the 
Newfoundland codfishery industry's negative impact on the coastal environment. Photo: f Patrick & Kami Moms/ 
Oxford Scientific Rims, courtesy National Geographic 



FIELD REPORTS 




j 



I 

J 



Jackson Hole: A Blue Chip Wildlife Festival 




by Carl Mrozek 

It's late September and golden aspens 
coat the base of the picture-perfect Grand 
Tetons. In the valleys below, bull elk display 
massive antlers and bugle their lust and lone- 
liness from twilight till dawn. Also in the val- 
ley, the fourth biannual Jackson Hole Wildlife 
Film Festival is underway (Sept. 22-27; 
www.jhfestival.org). More than 750 wildlife 
filmmakers, videographers, distributors, TV 
producers, network program buyers, and 
equipment reps are also rutting and strutting 
their stuff in the grand lobby of Teton Lodge. 

Anyone not already moving in the inner 
circles of wildlife filmmaking and TV produc- 
tion could have found the opening reception 
as alienating as someone else's college 
reunion. However, with a bit of chutzpah and 
a little help from the open bar, it was possible 
to edge into conversations and get acquaint- 
ed with a global assortment of producers and 
buyers actively seeking new "product" and 
talent. 

All of the major natural history programs 
and networks were well represented, includ- 
ing National Geographic TV, Nature, Nova, 
PBS Specials, Discovery Communications, 
BBC's Natural History Unit, and the equiva- 
lents from Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, 
and elsewhere. 

The festival 
agenda was 

jammed with semi- 
nars on the inter- 
national market. 
Although the pan- 
els succeeded in 
introducing impor- 
tant players to field 
producers, many in 
the audience were 

frustrated when seeking specifics about buy- 
ing policies, pricing, budgets, distribution of 
rights, residuals, and other contractual issues. 




Given its steep $450 registration 
fee, plus the price of plane fare 
and hotel, is the festival worth it? 
Can a newcomer break into the 
rarefied circle of natural history 
filmmaking at Jackson Hole? 



Numerous panelists waxed vague when pressed 

tor details, perhaps fearful of sharing trade 
secrets with competitors. Yet with repeated 
grilling, producers could gain insights into key 
markets, buyers, and their hot buttons. 

A vexing realization for many independents 
is that most commissioning producers prefer to 
work with producers they already know. The 
challenge for newcomers was obvious: how to 
deliver a program competitive with those by 
established producers without a comparable 
budget. Fred Kauf- 
man, executive pro- 
ducer of Nature, 
offered, "We're look- 
ing for a level of 
comfort in our rela- 
tionship with pro- 
ducers, which is why 
we prefer to work 
with those we've 
worked with before. 
If you're a new producer, you have to figure out 
how to reassure us." 

Chris Weber, a producer for National 



Geographic TV, suggested another route. "If you 
bring us an idea we like, but we don't feel con- 
fident you can deliver it alone, we'll try to team 
you up with a seasoned producer. How we 
respond depends a lot on the quality of your 
previous work, but we're open to new produc- 
ers, especially on the U.S. side." 

One point of agreement among buyers was 
articulated by Melanie Wallace of Nova. "A 
story has to be unique and strong enough for us 
to want to work with you over someone we 
already know." 

Some European programmers seemed open 
to all comers as they complained about the 
dearth of good programs. "A few years ago, the 
demand for wildlife [programs] exploded and 
the market reacted quickly with a lot of 
garbage," says Walter Koehler of TV Austria. 
"Today there are only so many good stories in 
the growing heap of garbage." Bo Landin, exec- 
utive producer for Scandinature, Sweden's nat- 
ural history unit, agreed. "Many producers with 
big budgets often have content and a style we 



March 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 21 



don't like, and we'll redo the scripts 
it we buy their shows," he said. 

There was a range of opinion 
about what makes a good Story and 
a good script, and whether those in 
control of the purse strings were 
truly receptive to new subjects and 
approaches. A basic question was 
whether the genre, particularly on 
the "blue chip" (pure wildlife) end, 
was hopelessly obsessed with tooth 
and tang themes with the same top 
predators. As British producer 
Geophrey Boswall suggested, "It's 
rumored that you folks are devoted 
to stereotypes." 

Even in-house producers like 
Nick Harraway of TV New 
Zealand's natural history unit 
agreed. "There's a conservatism in 
the marketplace that makes it hard 
to try new approaches for TV." Fred 
Kaufman of Nature concurred. "If 
you proposed a story about a fig 
tree, we'd probably turn it down, yet 
Partridge Films produced an excel- 
lent program on a fig tree in Africa 
and all the creatures using it. I guess 
we had to see it to believe it." 

A new BBC/Time -Life grant pro- 
gram for fresh approaches to natur- 
al history filmmaking should stimu- 
late some experimentation, espe- 
cially considering the $250,000 
budget awarded to the winner. 
Hopefully, runners-up and also-rans 
will find receptive ears elsewhere for their 
unique ideas, as the competition will be stiff. 

The roster of films showcased further illus- 
trated the bias towards top predators and big 
animals. Films like Leopard Son, Big Cat Diary, 
Wolves Return to Yellowstone, Whales, Mountain 
Gorilla: Shattered Kingdom, and Elephants domi- 
nated the feature screenings. Less charismatic 
wildlife were limited to supporting roles in lim- 
ited thematic series like Secrets of the Ocean 
Realm, Chile: Land of Extremes, Nature's Rage, 
and Forces of the Wild. This raised the question 
of whether the clarion call for "unique stories" 
by buyers and commissioning editors was really 
a thinly veiled pitch for new plot lines featuring 
the same few charismatic critters, beginning 
with the king of beasts. 

A beacon of hope was the revelation that 
increased channel capacity and digital TV was 
driving up demand for natural history, science, 
and educational programs of all stripes. 




However, this won't put bread on producers' 
tables this year, as program planners like 
Connie Bruce of National Geographic 
Channels indicated they were starting off with 
library material. "We'll commission new pro- 
grams once we're up and running." 

One door that remains tightly closed was the 
one leading to back-end participation in rev- 
enues, mainly in the form of nonbroadcast 
sales. Many buyers and commissioners want full 
ownership of all ancillary rights. "If we finance 
100 percent of a project, we want 100 percent 
ownership, period," says Lynn Wallace of 
National Geographic TV 

Festival chairman Barry Clark spoke on 
behalf of producers. "There's a war going on 
here. On one side are the money folks who feel 
they deserve the lion's share, while on the cre- 
ative side we feel we're entitled to some of the 
pie, too." Clark suggested that producers begin 
by placing a dollar value on all their contribu- 



^T tions to a project, and that per- 

^» haps a boilerplate Jackson Hole 

contract should be drafted for 

independents to use as standard 

practice. 

Independents also called for 
fairer compensation for produc- 
er contributions to projects, 
especially in development, and 
^ the need for budget lines for 
k \ health, unemployment, liability, 
and production insurance. 

Another hot issue was the 
place of the conservation mes- 
sage. Some TV executives blunt- 
ly declared that they were in the 
entertainment not the environ- 
mental education business, 
while others like Alex Midden- 
dorf of The Learning Channel 
straddled the fence. "TLC tries 
to blend information with enter- 
tainment, but we need advertis- 
er-friendly shows," she 
explained. 

There was consensus among 
TV executives and even many 
producers that in-your-face con- 
servation films don't draw mass 
audiences, but subtle messages 
can be effective. "We like peo- 
ple-oriented stories. It's the way 
you tell a story that creates 
interest and respect for wildlife," 
said Terri Koenig of National 
Geographic Specials. (Putting 
their money where their mouth is, National 
Geographic acquired People of the Sea, a pro- 
gram showing the collapse of the codfishery 
industry and coastal ecosystem, and its 
impact on Newfoundlanders, which won the 
festival's Best Conservation Film and Best of 
Festival awards.) 

Chris Palmer, executive producer for the 
National Wildlife Federation, accented the 
need to experiment to reach mass audiences 
with a conservation message. "The audience 
for conservation docs is mainly the already 
converted. If we can't culti\ - ate a broader 
audience, we'll lose the conservation battle. 
We need to look at dramas and even game 
shows." 

Another debate surrounded the new digi- 
tal video formats. While some broadcasters 
were open to any video format of at least 
Beta quality, many Europeans had reserva- 
tions about all NTSC formats, even digital 



22 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



Betacam. "We'd rather provide you Americans 
with PAL cameras than deal with the quality 1 
loss in converting from NTSC to PAL. That's 
why we prefer film," said Andy Buchanan of 
Partridge Films. 

Film purists were on the defensive, however, 
after Sony's demo showed super 16mm conver- 
sions to be below specifications for High 
Definition (HD) broadcasting. Kodak coun- 
tered with its own HD demo shot on its new 
fine-grain Vision filmstocks, converted to HD 
on Philips's "Spirit" transcoder. The super 16 
clips looked nearly as sharp as "upconverted" 
35mm or HD original. Nevertheless, film 
purists faced an uphill battle as everyone took 
note of the high quality of such HD produc- 
tions as Brian Greene and Randy Dark's The 
Texas Wild and the endorsement of HD original 
over 35mm by cinematographer Tim 
Liversedge. The opportunity for some produc- 
ers to field-test Sony's new HD camcorder won 
over even more HD converts. 

Given its steep $450 registration fee, plus the 
price of plane fare and hotel, is the festival 
worth it? Can a newcomer break into the rar- 
efied circle of natural history filmmaking at 
Jackson Hole. 7 

Not easily, but possibly, especially if you win 
the Best Newcomer Award, as did Canadian 
independent producer Sarah Robertson with 
Toothu/alkers, a story about walruses and the 
dependence of Innuit people upon them. She 
reported strong interest in her next project 
after being nominated and got the lead-off slot 
in the upcoming season of Nature. 

For filmmakers like Fernando Rivera from 
the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, just getting 
to the festival and meeting other filmmakers 
was a victory. "I made some good contacts and 
friends, and maybe a new project — in Cuba!" 

Festival founder Wolfgang Bayer offered sev- 
eral good reasons to attend. "You can watch 
some of the best recent wildlife films from 
around the world, twelve hours a day for six 
days if you like, in the auditoriums and private 
screening booths. You can meet some of the 
world's best wildlife filmmakers and pitch your 
ideas to producers and executives from all the 
big production houses and TV shows, and get 
up to speed on key issues in all the seminars. 
Most nights, there's a party with great food, 
drinks, and dancing. If you need a break, you 
can look at the Tetons and listen to elk. It's 
fun!" 

Carl Mrozek is head of an independent documentary 
production, Eagle Eye Media, that specializes in natural 
history subjects. 



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FIELD REPORTS 



WHERE'S THE ALTERNATIVE? 

Journalists and videomakers at the 2nd Media & Democracy 
Congress offertheir views on alternative media in the nineties. 



by La Trice Dixon 

From October 16 ro 19, more than 1,000 
mediamakers, community activists, filmmak- 
ers, journalists, producers, and students gath- 
ered to discuss new directions tor progressive 
media at the second annual Media and 
Democracy Congress in New York City. 
Organized by the Institute for Alternative 
Journalism, the purpose of the congress was to 
focus attention on the need to protect public 
interest journalism, to strengthen all forms of 
independent media, and to discuss media's 
accountability to the public. The congress fea- 
tured panels, roundtables, and workshops 
around a variety of themes, including fundrais- 
ing for mediamakers, saving public interest 
journalism, the future of public broadcasting, 
new strategies tor independent video and film, 
and the cultural impact of media monopolies. 
While the gathering resulted in some of the 
first steps taken toward building a coalition 
across various fields, it also demonstrated the 
gaps that exist within the progressive commu- 
nity, specifically between the journalists who 
have spent their careers tracking the consoli- 
dation of mainstream media comglomerates 
and critiquing the effects of the media monop- 
oly, and the mediamakers who work on the 
margins and use film and video as activist tools. 

The Independeiu took this opportunity to ask 
an array of participants several questions about 
the ^ate of the field: 

Do you think it's possible to build an alternative 
media movement m tlxe nineties? What would be 
the role of independent film & video! 

\\ h\ is there such a gap between the worlds of 
independent film/video and alternative journalism? 

Danny Schechter, Globahision 
The independent film- and videomaker has a 
direct stake in the building of a media and 
democratic movement. Unless we can create a 
political climate in which the funding for our 
work becomes more of a priority, unless we can 



KSHw? 




create venues, we are going to get swamped by 
the market logic which is controlled by the 
increasingly smaller number of companies. Any 
filmmaker whose not interested in this issue has 
his or her head in the sand. 

Ye-, there is a gap, but there is a common 
interest. We are all part of an attempt to diver- 
sify perpectives in our culture. We need to find 
way- to link up with people. There are so many 
things we could do concretely as independent 
filmmakers. If we want to buy archival footage, 
why buy it from the big networks? Why not buy 
it from each other.' We need to find ways to be 
mutually supportive, create programs with each 
other, cross-promote each other, and work 
together to reform public television and blast a 
hole in cable industry, so we can get seen. 

Dee Davis, Appalshop 

There is a chance to build a positive alternative 
media movement, but the concentration 
shouldn't be on media; it should be on the com- 
munities we care about. It shouldn't be some- 



lk^ 



thing we in the media community are deliver- 
ing to our constituency at home. It's very 
important that we reflect the communities we 
care about. That comes not from a casual 
relationship; it comes from spending time and 
making sure our work reflects those commu- 
nities. 

Pen and paper are cheaper than the tools 
for broadcast journalism. They are such com- 
pletely different systems at this point for 
delivering information. We spend our time in 
different activities. Once we focus on those 
communities we are serving and our audi- 
ences, that gap would be narrowed. 

Nolan Bon ie, Professor, Temple University 
[Independent mediamakers] don't play the 
role they ought to be playing. They don't get 
the audience. If you don't find an audience 
for your product, it sits on the shelf How do 
you get access to distribution channels and 
ultimately an audience? You do so through 
political means. Every civil rights or political 



24 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



group should have media and media strategies 
as an agenda item. A good way for indepen- 
dents to disseminate their product is by bicy- 
cling: hand to hand, in the mail, making copies, 
airing work where communities meet and can 
talk about them. We need to look at and learn 
from the recent report from the NEA. If you are 
not involved in your local community, then 
who are you involved with? Yourself? If so, what 
good does that do? 

James Ledbetter, Village Voice 

We have an alternative media movement. It's a 
nascent one and doesn't have a consensus for 
what its role should be, but we have one. The 
role of the independent producer is to make 
breakthrough films and help the rest of us 
change the structure of American media so 
those films can get wider exposure. 

There is a tremendous gap, because print 
people are sort of insular; they are tied to their 
own ways. A lot of us work hard and don't have 
time to view independent films or get to know 
the people who make them. That's a problem. 
If we had a truly public broadcasting system 
that could briny people from the print media to 
the world of broadcasting on a more regular |^ 
basis, then there would be a situation tor more 
overlap. But absent that, there is no agency tor 
overlap between the two. 

Luke Harris, African American Policy Fortim 

There is a gap not only between film, video, 
and print, but also between progressive 
activists. Part of the institutionalization of a 

progressive politic is to create a forum tor peo- 
ple to come together across those domains. 

Randi Cecchine, Paper Tiger TV 

Some of the first work is a broad discussion on 
what "independent," "alternative," and "pro- 
gressive" mean. There could be a widespread 
media movement that's geared toward democ- 
ratizing media, [making it] accessible to people 
across politics and across cultures. This partic- 
ular gathering is elite and limited in terms of its 
scope and definitions. Building a movement 
requires not only having your voice be louder, 
but having more representation. 

We need to look at funding issues — founda- 
tions and how they decide who to fund — and to 
try to open up that process. Policy and telecom- 
munications are also important. People need to 
know that they must advocate in order to get 
their work done. 

Makani Themba, Praxis Project/Media & 
Democracy Coordinating Committee Chair 
You cannot have a media movement unless the 
role of media is subordinate to the movement. I 



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agree that media is a witness and media teaches, j 
but there is a point at which people act. 

We need a sense of how much has happened, 
what the computer stuff means. The boundaries 
are down for some people, and then there is a I 
vast majority of people who don't interact with 
any media. We are an elite group of people. 

Andrew Jay Schuartzman, Media Access ' 
Project 

New technologies offer tremendous opportuni- 
ties for enhanced distribution and better coordi- 
nation. If the alternative media community 
understands that they should be using every 
means of distribution and learning to adapt their 
product to every part of the multimedia tech- 
nology, they will find opportunities for distribu- 
tion in all of them. It is an opportunity to go 
around, through, and under the bottlenecks of 
big media. Technology is not the solution for 
everything, not a panacea, but a great opportu- 
nity. 

Siva Persad, Global Action Project 
Media can take a big step if youth are more 
involved with and aware of it. The next genera- 
tion needs to get to know people in media and 
be given the tools to take on a leadership role in 
media. 

Don Romesburg, Gay and Lesbian Alliance 
against Defamation 

From a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered 
standpoint, independent film and video is a vital 
part of how our community connects with one 
another, the mainstream, and international 
communities. Independents provide susbstance, 
depth, and diverse perspectives. In San 
Francisco we have a trangendered film festi- 
val — the first in the country. This is something 
that could not happen through any mainstream 
venue. For me, it is an opportunity to absorb 
diverse trangendered perspectives and broaden 
my media analysis as a queer activist. 

Laura Flanders, Counterspin 
The Right have television, radio, and print that 
are all interconnected and echo their arguments 
and expertise across different media. We tend to 
have disparate voices that we hear occasionally, 
never building up to the roar representing 
what's really happening in the country. 

Rather than striving for uniqueness, the role 
of the independent producer is to strive to build 
a chorus of voices. While the funding structure 
has forced producers to think of the most 
unique thing they can come up with, we need to 
strip that away and think of how we can have 
more collaborative efforts and build something 
that's bigger than the sum ot its parts. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



Deborah Siherfine, New York State Council on 
the Arts, Electronic Media and Film Program 

The role of the mediamaker is to use all their 
resources and arsenal as storytellers, image 
makers, and creative thinkers to create com- 
pelling stories that reflect their community and 
communities that don't break through to com- 
mercial media. 

Jay Sands, Direct Action Media Network! 
(DAMN.') 

Often when considering a media movement, 
people don't include powerful narrative ele- 
ments in their films. The same goes for journal- 
ism, including investigative journalism. People 
understand themes in narrative work. When 
you create fiction in film, print, or any form, you 
are inventing a world to demonstrate your 
theme. The power of that is not lost on people, 
who I think are more intelligent than the media 
movement often gives them credit for. 

Dennis Bernstein, Pacifica Radio/KPFA 
Reporters and journalists should create struc- 
tured stories and then work with filmmakers 
and producers who can give those stories legs in 
a lot of other arenas. 

Patricia Montoya, El-Puente 

What we as makers can give to the alternative 
media movement is creativity and quality. 

Jessica Glass, Paper Tiger TV, New York Free 
Media Alliance 

An alternative media is possible, and it's hap- 
pening now; it's building. I think gatherings like til 
this are showing us just how much it's happen- 
ing. We have to keep organizing on very local 
levels, too. 

Patrice Mallard, Manhattan Neighborhood 
Network 

[An alternative media movement] is possible as 
long as we remember that it can't be exclusive 
and include the participation by people of color, 
women, and across class lines. 

The role of independent mediamakers is 
two-fold: One is to continue producing and not 
be afraid to produce. Now should be a time not 
only to be reacting, but to be creative. The 
other is to consider other alternative modes of 
distribution and to consider yourself a part of an 
alternative media movement. For example, we 
can't get a lot independent film- and videomak- 
ers to put their work on public access. That's a 
big mistake. We are both a part of the fringe, 
and we need to work together to make sure 
these works are seen. 

LaTnce A. Dixon is an MFA candidate m Media Arts 
Production at City College. She is also advocacy coordi- 
nator and membership associate at AIYE 



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March 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 27 



Picking a Film Lab 

We've all been there: the little guy who processes 
his film in dribs and drabs, the lowest man on the 
totem poll in the film lab's hierarchy of priorities. 

^— ■ — Or so it seems. ^— ■ — 
But being a struggling independent doesn't mean 
you can't get a lab's respect, or its best work. Just 

remember, your lab is only as good as you are. 
by David Giancola 

-TUX THE ELEMENTS OF FILMMAKING ARE FUNNELED THROUGH LABS. 
They are a tool for your creativity. The images and sounds that we 
labor to produce in the field can either be saved or ruined depending 
on the quality of a lab's work. It goes without saying that using this tool 
effectively is one of the most important skills any filmmaker can learn. 

Independent filmmakers are in an unusual position in the film 
industry. As the number of independent films produced each year con- 
tinues to grow, independents are becoming more and more important 
to a lab's bottom line. But often independents get treated as second- 
class citizens by the labs. Slow turnaround time, unreturned phone 
calls, inconsistent quality, and careless mistakes are often the norm. 
(When I mention "labs" in this article, I am including facilities that 
develop, print, transfer, add titles, special effects, music, mix, or copy 
your work.) 

There are two common theories on how to choose a lab. One says 
that you should insure the quality of your film by using the largest, 
most established, and most expensive lab you can find. This logic sug- 
gests that a "high end" lab will have the best quality-control systems in 
place and will be using the best equipment. Another theory says that 
you need to use a small lab that will give your film more T.L.C. and give 
you individualized attention. 

Both theories are flawed. I have run projects through state-of-the- 
art facilities where only the best equipment was used, but the work was 
mediocre because the people were careless. I have also run projects 
through smaller labs where the service was exemplary and the techni- 
cians were meticulous, but the final product was disappointing because 
the equipment could not deliver the quality I needed. 

JO HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE BEST LAB FOR YOUR PROJECT? HOW CAN 
you assure that a lab will give you good service, quality work, and the 
best rates? The first rule of pickup a lab: Make sure they have the 
equipment you need. Here is an example: The term "Telecine" can 
cover even-thing from a state-of-the-art Rank Ursa Gold flying spot 
scanner to a video camera pointed at an image projected by a movie 
projector with a multi-bladed shutter. The difference in results is enor- 
mous. Everyone in this business loves to throw around vague techni- 
cal jargon, but knowing specifics about equipment allows you to make 
choices upfront that will dramatically affect your film. If you are not 



sure about a lab's facilities, ask to have a test done. Most labs will run 
tests for free. 

The second rule (which may be even more important than the first) 
boils down to one word: relationships. Good relationships with the 
people who work at your lab can prevent and solve many problems. 

Here is a short story to prove the point. Last summer I was direct- 
ing a feature called Pressure Point. The production was scheduled for 
three weeks. Our two most expensive actors, Steve Railsback and 
Larry Linville, were completing all of their work at our most expensive 
locations on week two. We were spending so much money per day that 
the crew called week two "the golden week." 

On the last day of the golden week my producer, Peter Beck, arrived 
on the set with some very disturbing news. The lab had called; there 
were scratches in three negative rolls shot on the previous two days. 
When we got the news, we stopped everything and headed to the 
nearest cellular phone so Grove Hafela, our director of photography, 
could call the lab. I was in shock. We didn't have the money for a re- 
shoot and one of the lead actors was headed to the Ukraine that night 
to start work on another film. To put it mildly, we were screwed. 

I kept thinking of the lengthy disclaimer in fine print that you gen- 
erally see on the back of a lab's brochure or invoice. Most read some- 
thing like this: "We extend no warranties in connection with the pro- 
cessing of film or tape, including any implied warranty or mer- 
chantability or any implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. 
We assume no responsibility- for loss or damage from any cause what- 
soever." Basically, if anything goes wrong, even if it is their fault, you 
have no recourse. 

Usually when a lab ruins your film, you get an apology and an offer 
to replace the film stock (so you can re-shoot your scene and pay them 
to develop it again) . If you have the budget for it, you can buy pro- 
duction insurance to protect yourself from disastrous lab errors. 
Pressure Point didn't have this kind of insurance. As I envisioned using 
a double and re-shooting all of Steve's scenes from behind his head, 
then post-synching his lines, Grove called the lab. 

Fortunately Grove had specified that we were to use a developing 
lab where he maintained a relationship. He got a warm greeting from 
the receptionist, and they chatted a bit as Peter paced impatiently. 
Grove spoke to his lab contact, a man whom he had known for the last 
seven years. Grove was not impatient or irritated. He was concerned, 
but calm. They talked the problem over and quickly came to a solu- 
tion, something I had never heard of before. Grove actually got his 
contact to admit that the scratches were probably the lab's fault. I was 
dumbfounded. I had never been able to get a lab to even consider the 
possibility that they may have made a mistake. Grove and his conta 
arranged for the lab to pay to have the negative sent out to anothe 
company where it would be specially washed to remove the scratches. 
Grove thanked his contact and two days later, the scratches were gone 
and the problem was solved. 

When I talked to Grove afterward, he told me, "The staff at the lab 
spend much of their day being abused by neurotic cinematographers 
and directors who are throwing tantrums over stupid stuff that they 
often don't understand themselves. Lab people are just like everyone 
else; they want to be liked and treated respectfully." The power that 
Grove wielded with the lab was his relationship with the people there. 
Because they had been dealing with Grove for so long, they knew that 
he would not become abusive or unrealistic about solving the problem. 
They also knew that bailing him out of this problem would build a lot 



as 
ne 

M 



28 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



V l_ 



8 



of loyalty, and that would translate into future business. So they did 
everything they could to help. 

Ever since this incident, I have worked a lot harder at building a 
relationship with one or two people at the lab. I want them to remem- 
ber me. Now, whenever I'm in New York, I stop in at the lab and per- 
sonally introduce myself to the people who handle my films. I want 
them to realize that I'm just another hardworking person trying to 
make a living in the film business, just like them. (If you do this, be 
brief; don't waste their time.) If you want to take this a step further, 
send a "Thank You" note when somebody at the lab does a good job on 
your film. Tell them about its success and how they were an integral 
part of that. Invite them to screenings or premieres of your work. 

Good relationships within a lab also have tangible secondary effects. 
Your lab contacts can become a trustworthy referral source. When you 
ask your lab contact for a referral, he will want to send you to a reli- 
able, professional colleague. Start off this new relationship with your 
referral by saying; "Fred over at B-Roll Labs said I should give you a 
call; he says you are the best in the business," or something like that. 
This will put your new contact on notice that you are known in the 
industry and expect the best. 

Relationships drive all businesses, and labs are no exception. If the 
lab you are using is too busy to start a relationship with you, find 
another one. Most of the time, if you present yourself as a profession- 
al, the lab will respond well. Labs want and need your business. Steve 
Ostrow, a customer sales representative at National Video in New 
York, sums up his attitude toward independent filmmakers like this: 
"I'm willing to starve together with a filmmaker if they are willing to 
get rich together with me. For any facility it's tough with independents; 
there's rarely enough money. It's painful to not be able to do your best 
work, but I'm willing to match rates and give package deals it the film- 
maker is willing to give me a crack at the next project." 

Lab personnel often have a much longer-term view of the business 
than filmmakers do. Many have watched a first-time filmmaker move 
on to become a studio director. Relationships with people like that are 
the key to success for labs. "Indies often think they are viewed as sec- 
ond-best, but it doesn't work like that," notes Joe Violante, vice presi- 
dent of producer services at Technicolor. "There are more independent 
producers than studios. Someday the independents will become suc- 
cessful or work for the studios; we know that for a fact. Fifty percent of 
the films that go through Technicolor are independent productions." 

Vermont-based filmmaker John O'Brien, director oi the recent cult 
hit Man with a Plan, counts on his relationships. "I have relationships 
with a few key people, and it always pays off in the quality of the work 
they do for me. I no longer even try to get more competitive rates from 
them. I'm willing to pay more for a good relationship." He adds, "As a 
filmmaker, you have to realize that lab personnel are often overex- 
tended, so if you are not really nice and really persistent, your stuff is 
gonna get screwed up. When I'm making a film, I call the lab every- 
day." 

O'Brien is a filmmaker in an enviable position; he has developed a 
relationship with his lab to the point diat they defer printing costs on 
his films until he has released them. O'Brien has established himself as 
a professional in the eyes of his lab. They are willing to bet on him 
because he treats them right and always keeps his word. (He always 
pays the lab eventually, even it the film does not perform up to expec- 
tations financially.) 







H, 



developed a ] 

ring costs on J-, lK 
,d himself as !f v 









ERE ARE A FEW OTHER TIPS WHEN DEALING WITH LABS. REMEMBER, IF 
you act like a professional, you dramatically increase your chances of 
being treated like one. 

Be organized: Lab Purchase Orders and Camera Reports may seem 
boring to you, but giving the lab clear, precise instructions will help 
move your film through quickly. If you must hand-write, print clearly. 
( iood paperwork is also insurance. It a lab makes a mistake, a paper 
trail makes your case best. 

Ask questions: It you do not understand the film printing process, 
making optical tracks, or whatever, ask questions. Lab "lingo" can be 
intimidating. Don't let that stop you from finding out the information 
you need. If your lab acts too busy to answer your questions, find 
another one. 

Take the time to learn the technical process: If you have followed 
the previous tip and done your homework, you are armed against bad 
lab work. Do you know how many answer prints you'll need to get your 
film the way you want it.' It you don't, find out; you're the filmmaker, 
the lab works tor you. Don't count on them to lead. "The first question 
I ask new filmmakers is it they know what time-code is," says National 
Video's Ostrow. "If they don't, it's a tell-tale sign that there are prob- 
lems ahead. An independent's lack of experience will always cost them 
more money." If you feel uneducated about what goes on in a lab, 
check out L. Bernard Happe's book Your Film and the Lab, printed by 
Focal Press. It is a clear, simply arranged manual on the film lab 
process. 

Get quotes from more than one lab: How do you know that you're 
getting a competitive price unless you know what the going rate is? Are 
you shooting a lot of film and are therefore able to get a quantity dis- 
count? Does the facility have cheaper night rates? Can you get a dis- 
count because you are a student or a member of an organization like 
the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers or the 
Independent Feature Project? Is your lab contact willing to beat or 
match a competitor's prices? Can you get a package deal? 

Plan to pay your bills: There is nothing that gives independents a 

d reputation more than running up a large bill and then crying poor. 

ou think you don't have enough money to pay all your lab bills, talk 
to them up front, make some good-faith deals, and look for better 
rates. Before you use a lab's services is the time to negotiate. After the 
bill has arrived, you lose all credibility. "I think one o{ the fatal flaws 
that independents make is that they secure money in waves," contin- 
ues Ostrow. "A facility is most productive when everything is done at 
once. The value in continuity is huge." continued on page 62 

March 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 29 



4 



"a film "by..." 



a 



ANDREW SARRIS, 

who authored the auteur theory 

35 years ago, assesses its impact 

on cineastes ever since. 



by Marion Wolberg Weiss 



the United States. In the 35 years since, the auteur theory has been 
hotly contested, starting immediately with Pauline Kael's critique, 
"Circles and Squares," in Film Quarterly, and continuing as various 
critical theories have waxed and waned over the years. The reasons for 
this challenge are various. Resistance to film as an art form is chief 
among them, according to Sams. Another, he believes, is that he is too 
much of a journalist for the academic community and too much of an 
academic for journalists. Others argue that film by its nature is a col- 
laborative medium, and the auteur theory not only downplays that 
aspect of the filmmaking enterprise, but has paved the way for the 




Andrew Sarris, then and now. 

Courtesy Andrew Sarris 

Photo (r): Marion Wolberg Weiss 



JLx 1963, Andrew Sarris first popularized the alteur theory in 
America in an issue of Film Culture dedicated "to the notion of direc- 
tion as the dominant artistic gesture of the cinema." This was an idea 
already circulating in France among the New Wave directors and crit- 
ics who gravitated around the Cahiers du Cinema and Henri Langlois's 
Cinematheque francaise. Immersed in the American genre films that 
had been barred from France during the Occupation, these cinephiles 
began to notice signature styles even among directors operating with- 
in the constraints of the Hollywood studio system and to develop a sys- 
tem of appraisal based on a director's stylistic continuity. Breaking from 
the reigning emphasis on plot and script, these critics elevated the 
visual component of film and, along with it, raised the director from 
craftsman to artist. 

Andrew Sarris was the emissary who launched the auteur theory in 



director-as-star phenomenon that's reached new heights in recent 
years. Despite the criticism, the notion of the director as the preemi- 
nent "author" or creative mastermind of a film continues unabated. 
Just consider how people talk about seeing "a Quentin Tarantino film," 
"a Woody Allen film," or "a Martin Scorsese film." 

Sarris himself has also persisted, combining both academics and 
journalism since his first critique appeared in a 1955 Film Culture. 
Subsequently he was film critic for the Village Voice from 1960 to 1989, 
and is currently the critic for the New York Observer. Longevity is 
apparent in Sarris's teaching career as well; he's been a film professor 
at Columbia University for the last 28 years. 

The Independent recently talked with Sarris about the auteur theory, 
its impact, and its relevance today as he was preparing his latest book, 
You Ain't Heard Nothiri Yet: The American Talking Film 1927-1949, 
History and Memory (Oxford University Press, 1998). 



30 THE INDEPENDENT March 1 998 



In your "Notes on the Auteur Theory" in Film 
Culture, you describe a principle by which 
the themes, structures, and formal traits of 
a director's body of work can be examined. 
This theory has been a cinematic cause 
celebre for 35 years, with both staunch 
defenders and tenacious critics. Why do you 
think it has inspired such passion, and how 
did you initially respond to that? 

I've always felt very much like Mario 
Puzo. He said if he had known so many 
people were going to read The 
Godfather, he would have written it 
better. 

But not all that many people have 
actually read my original "Notes." In 
fact, I made some tactical errors when 
I had the debate with Pauline Kael in 
print. The editor of Film Quarterly 
called me up to rebut [Kael]. I didn't 
do a very good job of it, because I did- 
n't take it all that seriously. I felt her 
arguments were so spread out over so 
many wide targets. What I should have 
done was to have my [original] article 
reprinted in Film Quarterly. Most peo- 
ple read only what Pauline said about 
it. Later, she became more of an 
"auteurist" than I ever was. 

Initially, the word that gave me the 
most trouble was "theory." The French 
said, "This [auteur theory] is not a the- 
ory." I am not a theoretical writer. The 
whole idea was that a group of people 
from around the world had been very 
dissatisfied with the standard film his- 
tory, because every film they liked was 
never mentioned or was dismissed. 

The reason that people rushed to 
Pauline's defense is that I was bringing 
the bad news — that movies were going 
to be taken seriously, that they were an 
academic subject. 

No matter what I would have come 
up with, there would have been an 
attack. There has been subsequently 
an attack on every theory that's come 
along — semiotics, postmodernism; 
inevitably there's been a backlash. 
Movies belong to everyone. There's 
tremendous resistance to a small elite 
dictating their terms. 

What were other circumstances in the early 
days of your career that compelled you to 
write Notes on the Auteur Theory? 



Appraising the indie auteurs 

: Stranger than Paradise was one of the best 
film debuts ever. It's not my favorite kind of cinema — this 
dead-pan, put-on cinema — but he's done it very well. Since 
that first movie, he's declined a little bit or rather, we have 
become too familiar with the strategy of that style. I liked his 
last one with Johnny Depp, even though his pacing was so per- 
versely slow that it was a complete failure commercially, but 
artistically it was one of the most interesting things he's done 
in a long time. 

: The rap against Sayles is that his content is 
more striking than the form. He's one of the few socially con- 
scious filmmakers who's intelligent and not just pretentious 
and problematic. He's a real humanist. From the beginning 
you could tell he had something to say. He has fascinating nar- 
ratives [and] a style appropriate to what he has to say. Sayles 
has both form and content. 

: Soderbergh had a fantastic start with 
sex, lies and videotape. He's been very uneven since then. He 
may have some very fine stuff to do. He's self-doubting. I think 
he's sowed all his wild oats. I'm not saying "settle down"; 
that's not what you do. But if he can [just] get back to the 
interesting characters he had in sex, lies and videotape. 

-. He's very avant garde, very much into the 
Baroque. It's an area I haven't quite figured out. It's quite rig- 
orous. There's nothing sordid about his work. It's very serious, 
but it's so rarefied. I have a hard time coping, considering all 
the other films that I find a little more approachable. 

: Ferrara is the closest thing to a modern Sam 
Fuller. Apparently he is sort of clinically crazy; filmmaking has 
kept him from being confined, I suppose. He's very eccentric, 
to say the least. Apparently he has some wild Catholic fixa- 
tions, and he cuts to the bone. But he's often very interesting. 
He bypasses sociological probability and realism completely, 
so there's almost a cartoonish intensity to what he does. 

: I think he's a better actor than director. He's an 
interesting director, but full of affectations. He stops the nar- 
rative for some Godardian asides. He also has a lot of half- 
baked ideas; he starts and then goes off in a different direc- 
tion. I think his films are confused. On the other hand, he 
doesn't have the normal egocentricity, because a lot of his per- 
sona is self-mockery. He doesn't take himself too seriously, 
which is the great rap against just about everyone in 
Hollywood. 

: They're batting about 500. 1 like about 
half the stuff they 've done very much. Miller's Crossing I liked 
very much. 

: Trust I liked very much, but I've become less 
enchanted by him. I think he's gotten into a rut that's very styl- 
ized. 

: I much prefer Ken Loach. Leigh I don't get. He's 
too much into caricature, although it's not cruel caricature. 
And he carries improvisation too far. 



Most ot the intellectual establishment 
loved the movies, but they loved them as 
relief from their more serious activities. I 
was treating movies seriously. In fact, my 
1969 "magnum opus" was The American 
Cinema; it wasn't called Hollywood 
Flicks. My book was something these 
people identified with Ingmar Bergman 
and Federico Fellini, both of whom had 
been profoundly influenced by 
American movies. 

In the mid 1950s, Rebel without a Cause 
opened, and here in America everybody 
criticized it for its "social worker" jargon. 
In Europe, they went crazy over the film. 
They understood what James Dean was 
all about. What they really liked were 
those delirious visual compositions of 
Nicholas Ray. But here in America, we 
were reviewing the plot in terms of the 
dialogue and not looking at the visual 
components. 

Would you write differently about the auteur 
theory today? 

It I had to do it over again, I would not 
have written so much about the director, 
but about genre instead, because I think 
that was the key. Yeah, I would have 
written it differently if I could have 
looked forward in time. But back then I 
was writing for a very small film maga- 
zine that had fewer than 10,000 readers. 
I was doing it for free. 

How about the "circle" theory that you used to 
evaluate directors: technical competence, 
evidence of a distinguishable personality, and 
interior meaning? Would that still be part of 
your "Notes" today? 

Yes. The point I was making is that there 
was more than one level involved in 
interpreting a film. The prescribed 
vocabulary now to describe the "circle" 
is "subtext" or "directorial attitude." 

You wrote in your original "Notes" that some- 
thing like the auteur theory is in constant flux. 
Do you still agree with that view? 

I'm a constant revisionist. People say, 
"Have you changed?" Of course I've 
changed! I'm 35 years older; I've seen 
thousands of movies and written a mil- 
lion words. Naturally, I'm evolving, I'm 
refining. 

Auteurism is speculative; it's hypotheti- 
cal. CONTINUED ON PAGE 60 



March 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 31 



At the end of an age of 
experimental documentaries in 
which the maker's self-reflexive 
confidences have become as 
all pervasive, predictable, and 
intrusive as the voice-of-God 
narrators of the Thirties, there 
is a freshness in films that offer 
a less embellished, less deter- 
mined, less self-conscious 
view of the world. 



You don't need to be a culture critic to notice the Sixties are 

cool. Whether marketed as retro fashion or cited as the source of 
America's moral decay, the Sixties have been appropriated by widely 
divergent interest groups and subjected to wildly different interpreta- 
tions. Not long ago I caught a right-wing PBS documentary on divorce 
that singled out the Sixties as the source of today's family crisis, offer- 
ing an MTV- quick 
montage of the 
decade of sex, drugs, 
and rock 'n' roll. Such 
cliches are little more 
than simple-minded 
propaganda that ig- 
nores the complexity 
of an era that also 
declared war on 
poverty, launched a 
Great Society, em- 
barked on a disastrous 
war in Southeast 
Asia, and was trans- 
formed by the Civil 
Rights movement. For anyone born after 1970, making sense of the 
Sixties is increasingly problematic given the not-so-hidden agendas of 
Hollywood spin doctors, Madison Avenue marketeers, and left- and 
right-wing missionaries competing tor the hearts, minds, and dollars of 
today's youth. 

One way of approaching the Sixties is to look back at the era's "pri- 
mary" sources — those experiments in a new documentary style that 
tried to capture the everyday life and times of the famous, the infa- 
mous, and the ordinary alike. 

Shunning talking heads, voice-of-God narrators, condescending 
interviewers, and advance scripts, 16mm film pioneers pushed the 
capacity of quiet, light-weight cameras, invented wireless mikes, and 
adapted synchronous sound recorders to achieve a spontaneity and 
immediacy in documentary film unheard of at the time. Called by 
many names — direct cinema, living camera, candid eye — these differ- 
ent experiments in "uncontrolled" filmmaking eventually came to be 




Hope Ryden. pictured here with Robert Drew (left) and 
Richard Leacock (right) was one of the pioneering 
female verite filmmakers featured at the Film Forum. 
Photo: Alfred Wertheimer, courtesy Drew Associates 



known under one banner, "cinema verite." A major retrospective of 
Sixties American verite organized last fall by New York City's Film 
Forum with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, that 
endangered cultural agency of Johnson's Great Society, offered gener- 
ation 2000 and baby-boomers alike a rare chance to re-consider the 
Sixties through its revolutionary documentary work. 

Film Forum director Karen Cooper had her own reasons for revisit- 
ing the Sixties: her 15-year-old daughter has become an historian of 
the Beatles, and her fascination with the era had sparked Cooper's 
interest in mounting a retrospective. Bruce Goldstein, director of Film 
Forum's repertory programs, had been a big fan of Sixties' rock docu- 
mentaries since high school and welcomed the chance to program 
those works again. After consulting with a number of film scholars and 
critics, Cooper and Goldstein set about locating elusive prints from 
long-gone distributors, securing permission to screen restricted films, 
and tracking down missing filmmakers. The good thing about doing a 
verite retrospective, Goldstein discovered, is the fact that black-and- 
white 16mm prints do not fade, unlike color films of the same era, so 
the print quality is remarkably good. 

Eventually the programmers secured the rights to screen about 40 




ew: 



films. Many were classics made by the big names in direct cinema — 
Frederick Wiseman, the Maysles Brothers, Robert Drew, Richard 
Leacock, and D.A. Pennebaker. With an eye to the box office, the pro- 
grammers chose works that would pack the house: documentaries 
about Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles (\i!iats 
Happening'. The Beatles in the U.S.A., Monterey Pop, Don't Look Back, 
Lonely Boy, and Gimme Shelter) and portraits of cultural icons (Meet 
Marlon Brando, A Visit with Truman Capote) . Were these the only films 
screened, audiences would not have gotten to see a different picture of 
the era than the one being served up as popular entertainment today. 
But Cooper and Goldstein traded on the public's interest in celebrities 
to pull in spillover audiences for less "trendy" or name -brand films, 
programs like Drew Associates' Storm Signal, about white, working- 
class junkies, and Petey & Johnny, about juvenile delinquents in 
Spanish Harlem. And they also went in search of works by filmmakers 
who have not received the spotlight attention of other verite expo- 
nents — people like Hope Ryden, Charlotte Zwerin, Michael Gray, 
Stephen Sbarge, and William Greaves, to name a few — expanding our 
vision of verite and the Sixties in the process. 

Cooper was especially interested in finding works that revealed 
those pivotal moments in which history was turned upside down. A 
good example is Bill Jersey's riveting masterpiece A Time for Burning, 
which shows a community of white, middle -class, midwestern 
Christians afraid to invite black members of their church into their 
homes. This powerful and intimate glimpse of American racism — the 
unapologetic, banal face of bigotry — was shocking at the time and 
remains so to this day. 

Cooper and Goldstein's pursuit of little-known material led them to 
some political films rarely included in verite surveys, like Michael 
Gray's 1971 film The Murder of Fred Hampton and Stephen Sbarge's 
1970 portrait of student unrest in New York City, Iru, You'll Get into 



32 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



Trouble. Sharge came to filmmaking through New York Newsreel, a 
political film collective founded in 1967 and dedicated to the produc- 
tion and distribution of leftist films. Newsreel ultimately distanced 
itself from cinema verite, which was deemed too conservative by more 
doctrinaire filmmakers. But as film historian Bill Nichols notes, early 
Newsreel filmmakers adopted a flexible point ot view, "between empiri- 
cism (i.e. cinema verite) and dogmatism (i.e. Marxist analysis), defend- 
ing cinema verite because it acknowledged the uniqueness ot the his- 
torical moment and allowed an unbiased look at 'real needs' and 'real 
conditions.' " Sbarge's film presents its high school "revolutionaries" 
with tacit respect and a minimum ot political analysis, in contrast with 
the unambiguous rhetoric favored by activist filmmakers at the time. It 
offers a fascinating comparison with the rigid suburban world ot high 
school students depicted by Wiseman in his 1968 classic, High School 
Michael Gray's film began as a documentary on the Chicago Black 
Panther party and its chairman, Fred Hampton. Midway through 
shooting, Hampton and fellow Panther Mark Clark were killed by the 
police in a bloody raid, and so the film turned into an investigation of 
the mechanics of their murder. Scott Didlake, a critic writing at the 
time, pointed up the film's purpose, to "explicitly—destroy the reality 



which produced it," and then observed that "if you are unaware there 
is planned repression in America, [the film] is convincing; if you have 
chosen to ignore repression, it is compelling; if you support repression, 
it is instructive; if you struggle against repression, it shows you what to 
expect." Gray had ventured into an arena where verite rarely went. 

The decision to include William Greaves' behind-the-scenes, ring- 
side view of the first Mohammad Ali-Joe Fraser championship fight, 
Ali: The Fighter, placed an African-American within the all-white 
ranks ot American verite masters. Greaves never considered himself to 
be a strict verite filmmaker, but his background clearly put him at the 
forefront ot cinema verite experimentation. He left the United States 
in the Fifties, fleeing the twin evils of racism and McCarthyism, and 
went to Canada where he became chief editor ot the National Film 
Board's innovative Studio B. There he first saw Jean Rouch's ethno- 
graphic films from Africa, which captured his imagination. Also influ- 
ential, as NFB historian Gary Evans points up, were Britain's first 
examples ot Free Cinema and Henri Cartier-Bresson's photojournal- 
ism, all ot which stimulated Studio B filmmakers to try to capture what 
Carrier-Bresson called "the decisive moment," that instant in which 
reality can be spontaneously and wholly rendered. And so, while 



'&Q<$ j<i.ii£e ^^\e*efe tke. 'jO* 



by Deirdre Boyle 



Mick iagger captured 
in a still from Gimme 
Shelter, Charlotte 
Zwerin and Albert and 
David Maysless docu- 
mentary about The 
Rolling Stones. 

Courtesy Maysles 
Films 




March 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 33 



Robert Drew was experimenting with the idea of bringing Life maga- 
zine's style of photojournalism to documentary film in New York in the 
late Fifties, Roman Kroitor, Wolf Koenig, Terence McCartney-Filgate, 
and Michel Brault were similarly engaged across the border. Studio B 
talents proved crucial to the accomplishment of two verite firsts: 
Michel Brault assisted Jean Rouch in shooting the seminal verite film, 
Chronicle o} a Summer (1960), and Terence McCartney-Filgate helped 
Bob Drew film the first "Living Camera" feature, Primary (1960). Since 
no survey of "American" verite can ignore the pivotal influence of 
Canadian pioneers, Cooper included Lonely Boy (1961), Kroitor and 
Koenig's revealing portrait of the young Paul Anka, a consummate 
entertainer who proved to be far from the tender, vulnerable boy he 
projected and the title ironically suggested. 

Having acquired impressive experience working in Canada, Greaves 
returned to the United States in the early Sixties when the Civil Rights 
movement showed signs of altering entrenched racial attitudes. When 
he returned, he did not want to be tied to any one style of filmmaking, 
preferring to adapt whatever methods were useful in his films. Ali: The 
Fighter is a combination of styles: the off-the-cuff scenes of Ali and 
Fraser before the fight are hand-held verite gems, but the coverage of 
the fight itself owes more to a film like Triumph of the Will — with its 
crew of 12 and well-rehearsed, multi-camera location shooting com- 
plete with aerial views. 

Not since Leni Riefenstahl shook the world with her controversial 
Nazi party film had another woman filmmaker claimed the right to 
document reality, not until the emergence of three verite pioneers: 
Hope Ryden, Charlotte Zwerin, and Joyce Chopra. Although women 
worked as editors and production assistants on documentaries in the 
Fifties and Sixties, they did not become producers or filmmakers in 
their own right, especially during an era when cameramen generally 
got all the glory. 

Hope Ryden was a photographer and a writer affiliated with Time- 
Life who was recruited by Robert Drew to be one of the correspondents 
for the "Living Camera" films. Much like John Grierson a generation 
earlier, Drew — who had the financial support of Time Inc. — attracted 
the best and brightest to work with him in developing a new docu- 
mentary style. He wanted people with fresh ideas and untapped talent; 
gender posed no problem. He found Ryder to be an excellent writer- 
director and assigned her to work in various capacities on a number of 





films. Two "proto-feminist" films that she produced for Drew 
Associates were shown at Film Forum: jane (1962), a portrait of the 
young Jane Fonda as an aspiring stage actress desperate to disassociate 
herself from the sex kitten roles she had been getting in movies and 



The verite classics: D.A. Pennebaker filming Bob Dylan for Don't Look Back, one of the 
first and most influential music documentaries,- Albert and David Maysles' compelling 
Salesman; Robert Drew recording presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey in Primary. 
Courtesy Pennebaker-Hegedus Films & Film Forum/Photofest 

step outside the shadow cast by her famous father; and Susan Starr 
(1962), which showed the stress on a young woman pianist perform- 
ing in an international competition and coping with the attentions of 
an overzealous stage mother. Goldstein personally considered Susan 
Starr the big find of the retrospective because, thanks in part to its bril- 
liant editing by Charlotte Zwerin, it played like a Preston Sturges 
screwball comedy. 

Zwerin got started in film as an editor for the documentary TV 
series The 20th Century. Much like early film pioneer Esther Shub, 
Zwerin developed her talent at telling a seamless story by editing 
together diverse fragments from newsreels into a coherent TV show. 
She then went to work for Drew and later moved to the 
Maysles, where she had to fight hard to convince the 
brothers that her role as editor deserved a co-filmmaker 
credit. Because editing was fully integrated into their film- 
making process, Zwerin worked throughout the filming, 
screening dailies with the detached eye needed to identify 
what was missing and needed to tell the story, what the 
cameraman thought he had gotten but simply wasn't on 
the screen. Zwerin believed the cameraman's relationship 
with the subject and the events he was shooting distorted 
the event for him, whereas the editor, removed from the 
scene, wasn't affected by any personal knowledge and thus 
could understand better what a viewer would see and feel. 
Although Zwerin was listed as co-filmmaker on all her 
films with the Maysles, including wonderful early short films like A 
Visit with Truman (1965) and Meet Marlon Brando (1965) as well as the 
later important features — Salesman (1968) and Gimme Shelter 
(1970) — most references to her contributions printed at the time 



William Greaves, one 
of the only African- 
Americans working 
in the verite tradi- 
tion, directed Ali 
The Fighter. Here, 
Joe Frazier and 
Mohammad Ali 
exchange words at a 
press conference 
prior to their first 
championship fight. 

Courtesy William 

Greaves 

Productions 



34 THE INDEPENDENT March 1 998 




For someone who grew up watch - 

ing verite films, imprinted with all the 
caveats of "uncontrolled" filmmaking 
theory and convinced it was the only 
way to make a documentary film, this 
opportunity to revisit old favorites 
and see films I had only read about 
was deeply satisfying, no matter how 
disturbing it was to confront again 
the anger and division of a troubled 
time and memories sweet and bitter. 
But having lived through the Sixties, 
my view of them is not dependent on 
these films. So what did new and 
younger audiences think? 

According to Richard Sullivan, a 
video documentary maker who is also 
one of my graduate students, the 
power of verite films lies in two 
things. First is their "rawness" — their 
ability to offer a "direct" experience 
of real people and events without the 
self-conscious manipulation and slick 



glossed over her role 
as editor and often 
never even men- 
tioned her by name. 
Like Joyce Chopra, 
who collaborated 
with Leacock on the 
gem-like portrait of 
greed and exploita- 
tion that greeted 
the birth of the 
Fischer Quin- 
tuplets, Happy 
Mother's Day 
(1963), Zwenn 
knew that if she 
was to have a 
career of her own 
she would have 
to get away from 
the men who 
ield center 

stage. Ryden and 



image -processing that typifies media today. Second is their focus on 
ordinary people, like the outspoken barber in A Time for Burning or the 
failed Bible salesman in Salesman. "Those salesmen were like my 
uncles," he marveled, clearly impressed by the work he had seen. 

The rawness Sullivan prizes was less raw than viewers then or now 
imagine: just recall the artful editing that arranged those herky-jerky 
early experiments in hand-held, synch-sound camerawork into stories 
of power and epic effect. Still, Sullivan's points are well taken. I just 
interpret them a bit differently. At the end of an age of experimental 
documentaries in which the maker's selt-reflexive confidences have 
become as all pervasive, predictable, and intrusive as the voice-of-God 
narrators of the Thirties, there is a freshness in films that offer a less 
embellished, less determined, less self-conscious view of the world. 
These films allow the subject, not the filmmaker, to hold the audience's 
attention and leave the viewer space and time to ruminate — so rare in 
today's accelerated, over-mediated world. 

For my triend Wu Wenguang, a documentary videomaker from 
Beijing who attended most of the retrospective screenings, cinema 
verite strikes a deep responsive chord. The long-form observation of 
people, institutions, and unfolding events that is Fred Wiseman's hall- 
mark has special meaning for Wu, whose work is committed to follow- 
ing the lives of ordinary people over a period of years, tracing how their 
hopes, plans, and self-image change along with the changes unfolding 
in China today. Called by film critic Berenice 
Reynaud the leader of Chinese documentary, 
Wu reflects the continuing vitality of Sixties 
verite, which seems to be meeting the needs of 
new generations both near and far. 

As for the Sixties, it may be impossible to 
expect a generation separated by 30 years to be 
able to experience through film — even if it is 
"direct cinema" — the meaning of an era just 
out of consciousness. I grew up watching fabu- 
lous Depression-era films on television — Fred 
and Ginger were my favorites — but as much as 
I loved them and the romantic world they 
evoked, they never helped me see the world as 
my parents did. After years of studying docu- 
mentaries, I've caught fleeting glimpses of my 
grandparents in the working-class heroes of 
Grierson films and my young parents in the 
metropolitan crush of The City, but repeated 
exposure to these and other documentary films 
of the Thirties have only brought me tantaliz- 
ingly close to that past but never placed me 
squarely in it. Expecting Sixties' verite to be 
able to transcend the barriers of time, space, 
and experience is probably asking too much. 
Maybe it is enough for new generations to find 
the Sixties' and cinema verite cool. Fred and 
Ginger were cool. Here's to cool. 

Deirdre Boyle is the author of Subject to Change: 

Guerrilla Television Revisited (Oxford University 

Press, 1 997) and has been teaching documentary film 

history for 20 years at the New School for Social 

Research. Thanks to Hope Ryden, William Greaves, 

Stephen Sbarge, Charlotte Zwerin, Karen Cooper, 

Bruce Goldstein, Richard Sullivan and Wu Wenguang, 

who found time to speak with the author for this article. 



March 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 35 



TALKING HEADS 



I 



GlEI SALZMAN 



DOCUMEIMTARIANS 
POWEf? 



by Maureen Marovitch 

In Pi IWER, THE CREE RAISE AWARENESS OF THEIR 
battle against a huge electricity project on their 
land bv launching an imaginative publicity 
stunt: they paddle a traditional canoe from 
northern Quebec to New York City in a dra- 
matic six-week voyage. The exploit is a lesson 



Sundance in 1997. With each of the film's 
three screenings at Sundance comfortably full, 
Salzman hoped to tind American distributors 
eager to deal. Unfortunately, a Canadian 
David and Goliath story about a band of 
media-savvy natives and corporate giant 
Hydro Quebec wasn't on any distributor's A 
list. "Let's just say that distributors weren't 
chasing us down," Salzman says wryly. 

But Salzman and Isaacson knew there was a 
niche audience in Canada and the U.S. The 
film tells a universal story of a government's 
economic and political priorities pitted against 
the decimation of aboriginals' land and way of 



Producer Glen 
Salzman 



out there, but they weren't entirely sure how 
to reach them. A train ride from New York to 
Boston in April 1997 
proved the inspiration for 
the tour. As the scenery of 
New York State and 
Massachusetts skimmed 
by, Salzman and Isaacson 
sketched out the details 
for a tour in the northeast 
U.S., an area where the 
Cree's position had gar- 
nered great support. As 
the film shows, the Cree's 
and 



*(fc 




Power producer Glen Salzman took to heart. 
When theatrical distributors passed on Power, 
Salzman and director Magnus Isaacson 
hatched their own publicity scheme: a film tour 
of the northeastern U.S. 

Salzman spent five of his last 20 years as a 
producer putting together the financing for 
Power. He had no particular plans to organise a 
tour once the film was in the can. After all, 
Power got rave reviews at the 1996 Toronto 
Film Festival, had a limited theatrical release in 
Canada, was nominated tor a Genie (the 
Canadian equivalent of the Oscars), and was at 



life. The new twist was how the natives con- 
structed a brilliant international media cam- 
paign to lobby for their cultural survival. The 
film details five years of skirmishes, media 
blitzes, and splintering of support among the 
Cree themselves, but the final outcome is a 
positive one. The Hydro project at Great 
Whale was shelved due to mounting interna- 
tional pressure. Says Salzman, "It's an environ- 
mental story about how small disenfranchised 
groups can organize and achieve incredible re- 
sults." 

The filmmakers knew the audiences were 



environmentalists 
lobbying helped cancel 
New York State's $17 
billion contract for 
electricity from Hydro 
Quebec, which was a 
nail in the coffin for 
the planned dam. 

But in June, a new 
turn of events became 
a major motivating 
force for the tour. 
Hydro Quebec decided 
to launch a revamped 
version of the Hydro 
project. With the need 
for a new lobbying 
campaign, high-profile 
Crees were eager to 
tour with the film. 
Soon the Grand Chief 
of Crees, Matthew 
Coon Come, was 
booked for some of the 
bigger screenings, as 
was Matthew Mukash, 
chief of Great Whale. 
Even Robert Kennedy, 
Jr., who is in the film, showed up at the occa- 
sional screening. All this public discussion of 
the issues fitted in perfectly with Salzman 
and Isaacson's goal in making the film. "It's 
great that the film can be used in this way. 
We made it to serve an issue. It's good to see 
it continue to do so," says Salzman. 

The organization of a film tour is a huge 
undertaking. Salzman hired two people to 
work full-time for six months on creating the 
tour's network. The initial idea was to con- 
tact environmental groups, but Salzman's 
team soon realised that universities were bet- 



36 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



ter equipped to organise the screenings. 
"Grassroots environmental movements and 
NGOs are understaffed. They have the passion 




and enthusiasm, hut to take on tins sort of 
organisation is just too difficult tor them," says 
tour staffer Ellen Hagerman. 

Moreover, the Hydro issue was a familiar one 
to faculties in northeastern U.S., where some 
professors were already integrating it into then 
curriculum. Departments in Environmental 
Law, Geography, Anthropology, Native Studies, 
Canadian Studies, and Political Science were 
often eager to partly sponsor the event. Once a 
school was on hoard, the trick was to convince 
other groups to kick in some cash. For some ot 
the larger schools, cost was no issue, hut the 
tour organisers often helped smaller universities 
link up with other faculties, schools, and social- 
ly active groups. Soon, the tour became a sort 
of grassroots environmental organizing move- 
ment in its own right. 

But even with six or seven groups sponsoring 
a booking, administrative costs still needed to 
be covered. For Salzman and Isaacson, private 
sponsors were the way to go. During the filming 
ot Power, they had approached private compa- 
nies who were known to have an interest in 
environmental and social issues. "We got a lot 
of doors slammed on us," says Salzman. "But we 
got good at approaching people. When we 
started to distribute, we went back and raised 
money just like we did in production." 
Eventually companies like Patagonia Clothing 
and Ben & Jerry's became part of the tour's 
financing structure. 

After five years of fundraising, Salzman 
admits it took a new spurt of energy to start 
back in again. But he is delighted with the 
tour's success and is pondering the possibility of 
a southwestern and western tour. 

"Some filmmakers want to just sign off the 
film to the distributors and go on to the next 
project. And that's tempting. But when you do 
a screening and see a couple of hundred people 










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March 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 37 



there diking about the film tor an hour after* 
wards, it motivates you to continue." 

Upcoming tour dates: March 1, University of 
Pennsylvania; March 4, Saint Lawrence Uni- 
versity, Canton, New York; April 23, MoMA, 
New York. For more information, visit www.vir- 
tualtilni.com power 

Maureen Marovitch is a \Umtreal-based writer director 

<>/ TV documentaries and fictioi\ films. She is currently 

m postproduciwn on a biography of Quebec's first famed 

singer songwriter, La Bolduc, for Canada's History 

Television. 



MICHAEL ALMEREYDA 

DIRECTOR 

RCXTKING MOKSE \A/IISINEK 

by Anthony Kaufman 



"It's been a bewildering few years," says 
Michael Almereyda of his trip from Hollywood 
screenwriter to pixelvision filmmaker. Best 
known for his use of the now-defunct Fisher- 
Price PXL 2000 toy camera and the feature film 
Nadja that employed it, the writer director 




Ccurtesi "" — ='-e r 



"It's incredibly cheap. 

The blow-up to filaa 

costs more tvian 

production." 

never anticipated a life on the margins or being 
held up as an example of innovative, cheap 
moviemaking. "The pixel work was a kind of 
interesting sideline to keep myself busy," he 
explains. "I didn't think it would limit and 
define what I did." 

After a series of pixelated projects (including 
the critically acclaimed featurette Another Girl, 
Another Planet, the vampire feature bladja, 
which mixed pixelvision scenes with 35mm, 
and a new short titled Rocking Horse Winner, 



which debuted at this year's New York Film 
Festival), Almereyda's experimental diversions 
have become something much more — success- 
ful pieces of narrative film. He admits the effec- 
tiveness and poetry of working with the toy 
camera came as a surprise, "[PXLvision] has an 
identity apart from any ambition I had for it at 
the time. Even though working with the PXL 
camera is almost like taking snapshots. . . , it 
can get at something elusive, something of real 
value." 

That value, however, has never been mone- 
tary, causing a considerable amount of frustra- 
tion for the experienced filmmaker. Like many 
artists, Almereyda fears being seen as simply "a 
marginal presence." His desire has always been 
to "be a part of pop culture," he reveals. "I'm 
not cut out to be an esoteric guy on the side- 
lines, even if that's what I'm turning into." 

Almereyda's first two films, the self-financed 
A Hero of Our Time (1987), starring Dennis 
Hopper, and Twister (1989), starring Harry 
Dean Stanton and Suzy Amis, had not a single 
pixellated frame, and his work as a screenwriter 
includes the first draft of Until die End of the 
World for Wim Wenders, a version of Total 
Recall for Bruce Beresford, and the script of 
Search and Destroy by David Salle. He says his 
next project, being produced by Trimark, "is 
one of those Irish Druid witch mummy movies" 
starring Christopher Walken, Alison Elliott, 
Jared Harris, and Lois Smith. Almereyda 
explains, "It's not unlike Nadja, except it's in 
color and in focus [35 mm] — a big leap for me, 
some people would say." Suffice it to say, 
Almereyda is ready to move on. 

But with moving on, he has suffered the 
demands of the mini- studio system. For the first 
rime, he no longer has final cut. In his editing 
room at Spin Cycle Post in New York Citv, he 
worries, "The situation is a bit treacherous. . . 
Final cut is crucial. I don't have it on this latest 
picture [the mummy movie]; I'm editing now 
and I'm feeling particularly vulnerable." With 
the constraints of a larger budget and the exec- 
utives that come with it, Almereyda must face 
an arena he admittedly feels unequipped for. 
"I'd still like to have a bigger canvas and more 
money, but I don't know how to deal with that 
kind of machinery. I mean corporate machin- 
ery, not photographic machinery," he adds. "I 
like 35mm just fine." 

Unlike many filmmakers, who move from 
shorts to features and never look back, 
Almereyda has alternated between the two. 
But this has primarily been a function of bud- 
get. His latest short, the 19-minute pixellated 



Rocking Horse Winner, is an adaptation of a D. 
H. Lawrence story about, in Almereyda's 
words, "the difference between privilege and 
luck." Starring Eric Stolz, the fable depicts an 
uncle who finds fortune and tragedy in his 
nephew — a young boy with a talent for pick- 
ing winning race horses. For him, the story 
carries a metaphor for, among other things, 
the rocky life of any ambitious filmmaker — 
the kind of person who is never satisfied 
"because your opportunites are seldom as 
ideal as you'd like them to be, and you can be 
oblivious to the fact that you have, after all, 
a pretty good life, a privileged life." 

Almereyda doesn't regret his pixel past, 
nor will he stop making shorter works in 
between those long spells of "waiting for big- 
ger projects to take shape." The short pix- 
elvision pieces have given him the opportu- 
nity to keep working. "It's still filmmaking," 
he explains. "The crews are the same, though 
reduced; the scripts are the same; the actors 
are the same. The difference is you can trav- 
el light, you have terrific flexibility and free- 
dom, and it's incredibly cheap. The blow-up 
to film costs more than production." (The 
tape-to-film transfer for Rocking Horse 
Winner ran him about $3,500. His postpro- 
duction costs in general were held down 
thanks to his collaboration with Steve 
Hamilton of Spin Cycle Post, who served as 
his editor and coproducer.) 

With his pixel work, Almereyda has been 
able to keep perfecting his craft. "The big 
carry-over for me [from pixelvision to 35mm] 
involved working with actors — being more 
responsive to accidents or improvisation," he 
says. "There's something about the machin- 
ery of 35mm that can wall you off from 
actors." 

Caught in between the need for a wider 
canvas and the intimacy and poetry offered 
by a toy camera, Almereyda embodies a com- 
mon contradiction in the world of indepen- 
dent film. He wants to have it both ways — 
the artistic freedom of a smaller work and the 
higher budgets (without the frequent cre- 
ative restrictions) found in a larger work. His 
major influences reflect these differing 
worlds — pixelvision artist Sadie Benning, 
French auteur Jean-Luc Godard, and 
Hollywood director Tim Burton. 

Whether or not Almereyda gets the "priv- 
ilege" and necessary "luck" he needs to make 
bigger films, there will always be Fisher Price. 
"Don't be too precious about technology," he 
says to beginning filmmakers — advice that's 



38 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



equally applicable to himself. "If you want to 
tell stories and work with actors, video is as 
valid a medium as film, especially to learn, 
because there aren't many opportunities to 
learn or to fail once you get into this bigger 
arena." 

Anthony Kaufman is a journalist, writer/director, and 

features editor of indie WIRE [www.indiewire.com], 

an online news service for independent film. 



CHIMESE BOX 

by Hank Kim 




'Every time I work in 
Hong Kong, I seem 

TO GET IN TROUBLE." 



Wayne Wang is scratching his head. It's 
June 1997 in Hong Kong; the British are 
about to hand over the reins of the Crown 
Colony to Beijing, and the director is in the 
middle of shooting Chinese Box. Protection 
money to the local triads, or organized crime 
gangs, is the standard price of doing business 
in Hong Kong. Being blamed for the unrelat- 
ed death of a triad chauffeur is not. How 
could Wang have imagined that a white silk 
banner hung as a light reflector would cause 
"a situation"? White just happens to be the 
color of death in these circles, and customs 
are taken literally. 

Fortunately, Wang and his compatriots 
emerged from this scrape intact, but the 



episode was a fitting reminder of the chaos and 
uncertainty that prevailed in Wang's birthplace 
at the time of the handover. 

"Everytime I work in Hong Kong, I seem to 
get in trouble," Wang reflects. Chinese Box 
marks his second film about Hong Kong and his 
third shot there. In 1989, Eat a Bowl of Tea, 
which takes place in New York's Chinatown, 
was the first time he chose Hong Kong as a 
location. That was succeeded in 1990 by Life Is 
Cheap. ...but Toilet Paper Is Expensive, a scathing 
examination of modern Hong Kong values. 

"In Life Is Cheap..., a lot of my anger came 
out," Wang continues. "I think my feelings 
about Hong Kong will never really be resolved." 
Chinese Box, he adds, also contains anger, but is 
tempered with affection. 

Wang has a distinct vantage point from 
which to size up Hong Kong's evolution. He 
was born there in 1949, just after the 
Communists had usurped power from the 
Kuomintang Party in Mainland China and his 
family had escaped to the island colony. Wang 
(named by his movie-buff father after the star 
of True Grit) lived there until age 18, at which 
point he came to the U.S. to study visual arts at 
the California College of Arts and Crafts. 
Thirty years later, he's still based in the Bay 
Area. 

But his roots in colonial Hong Kong hold 
fast. In response to the handover, Wang wanted 
to make something that would in some way 
mark the moment, melding history-in-the- 
making with a dramatic story. And so, by shoot- 
ing in sequence, being open to improvisation, 
and using the handover as "an emotional can- 
vas," Wang was able to integrate real-lite 
events, such as the death of Deng Xiaoping, 
into his story of four intertwined characters. 

Chinese Box stars Jeremy Irons as John 
Spencer, a dying British journalist during the 
waning days of British rule, who is in love with 
Vivian (Gong Li), a woman he can't have. 
Vivian, a former bar hostess, is hopeful that 
Chang, a rising Hong Kong powerbroker, will 
marry her and provide her with the respectabil- 
ity she craves. But she comes to realize painful- 
ly that Chang is too ambitious to risk his repu- 
tation on someone with a sullied past. 

Meanwhile, John becomes obsessed with 
Jean (Maggie Cheung), a disfigured street hus- 
tler. He finds out that she had once attempted 
suicide after being jilted by an Englishman 
whose family disapproved of their relationship. 

"We tried to obtain a broad perspective con- 
sisting of the wide range of people living in 
Hong Kong," explains Wang. "The changes in 



Hong Kong are really about loss more than any- 
thing else." 

For the screenplay, Wang enlisted the help of 
Frenchman Jean-Claude Carriere, who adapted 
Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of 
Being, and Larry Gross, who collaborated with 
Walter Hill on 48 Hours. "In this case, the writ- 
ers were definitely the director's accomplice," 
comments Gross. "Wayne was comfortable not 
having all the answers." 

With the help of Vilko Filac (Emir 
Kusturica's director of photography), Wang 
shot most of the film hand-held, reflecting the 
visceral, uncontrollable nature of the city itself. 
Although a more methodical shooting style was 
possible, Wang points out that Hong Kong 
would be virtually impossible to suppress. "It's 
not like New York, where you can get the cops 
to close down streets and move cars." 

While the Crown Colony's local government 
did not embrace Chinese Box in the same way 
that the New York Mayor's Office of Film has 
wooed Hollywood glitterati, at least Wang did- 
n't have to put up with interference or surveil- 
lance from local authorities. Rather, the prob- 
lem came from the legions of journalists over- 
running the city in anticipation of the June 
30th handover. "We were trying to do guerrilla 
filmmaking, but everywhere we turned, there 
was a camera here and a camera there shooting 
us," grouses Wang. "We'd have to go over and 
constantly tell them to get the hell away." 

Life has been rougher for Wang, however. In 
the past few years, he graduated into the $5-15 
million strata with The ]oy Luck Club and 
Smoke. That's a long way from his first feature, 
Chan Is Missing, which was made in 1982 for a 
paltry $22,000 in grants from the National 
Endowment for the Arts, and which Wang shot 
in black and white using nonprofessional 
actors. Chan Is Missing is widely regarded as the 
Asian-American film that made possible such 
pics as The ]oy Luck Club and The Wedding 
Banquet. Despite his past successes, however, 
Wang concedes that putting a project together 
is still a struggle. But through his eclectic 
choices as a director, he has managed to avoid 
the trap of being ghettoized as a cinematic pur- 
veyor of assimilation angst. Be it in his China- 
town trilogy of the eighties, his glance inside a 
Brooklyn cigar shop in Smoke, or his examina- 
tion of change, loss, and uncertainty in Hong 
Kong, Wang taps into universal issues of human 
frailty. 

Hank Kim is a reporter at Adweek magazine and a fre- 
quent contnbutor to A. Magazine: Inside Asian 

America 



March 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 39 



WIRED BLUE YONDER 



I 



H1CH BVMD MID1H VUUIAE2 2rOMTA 



THE PROBLEM WITH THE INTERNET, AS PEOPLE WILL 
say — over and over, until you beg them to 
stop — is bandwidth. The medium is rite with 
unfortunate plumbing metaphors: "pipes" that 
aren't big enough, clogged with data by the 
megabyte. Anyone who's tried downloading 
even a short video clip over a phone line will 
attest to the infuriating sluggishness of multi- 
media on the Web. 

Nonetheless, the Internet has been fre- 
quently touted as a new and vital resource for 
the independent filmmaker: as promotional 
vehicle for films in release, global electronic 
press kits tor works-in-progress, or slick, image- 
enhanced resume for filmmaker or technician. 
But when it comes to viewing video online or 
publishing reasonably high-quality film stills 




and graphics — anything, in short, that might 
make the medium truly valuable in the context 
of film — the reality is less inspirational. 

Software companies like Real Video and 
Vxtreme attempt to get around the issues of 
connection speed and download time by play- 
ing video as it "streams" to the viewer's com- 
puter. "Trickles" is often more like it. 
Streaming video over the average 28.8 modem 
consists primarily of blocky, pixelized forms 
that flip by at six frames a second like a dis- 
jointed slide show while the audio track 
careens further and further out of synch. 

But promises have been made, and the pub- 
lic is waiting. Several mid-to-high bandwidth 
alternatives are in various states of develop- 
ment and experimentation, and in a business 



driven by innovation, some viable products are 
almost certain to emerge. Despite the essen- 
tially numbing nature of such technical discus- 
sions, it's important to keep in mind that what 
we're after here is a satisfactory experience of 
multimedia on the Web, just like they're always 
showing in those slick Microsoft ads on TV. 
The future of bandwidth for the consumer 
probably lies in one or more of the following 
technologies, but rest assured that by the time 
the average Web viewer needs to make a 
choice, there will be fewer conflicting options. 
One old standby that has gotten curiously 
short shrift by the telephone companies who 
deploy it is ISDN (Integrated Services Digital 
Network). ISDN has been around for over a 
decade, but market awareness and penetration 
is only now approaching signif- 
icant levels, as telcos realize 
the value of a fast, reliable 
data service for their Web- 
going customers. ISDN is here 
now, consistently delivering 
over 100 Kbps for the cost of 
installation, some hardware, 
and a typically modest month- 
ly fee. Given the cost and per- 
formance of the service, it's 
curious that it's been so slow 
to build a consumer base. 
Perhaps that's because the majority ot the 
public has been conditioned to think of 
Internet access arriving via modem: the 
molasses-in-January 14-4 that dominated the 
market a year ago, superseded by the now-stan- 
dard 28.8. The big news this spring was the 
arrival of the "lightning-fast" 56K modem, 
trumpeted by a 1996 Jupiter Communications 
report (now quaintly dated, as 1996 is akin to 
the Paleolithic era in this business) as the heir 
to over 50 percent of the dial-up access market 
by the year 2000. But 56K (still just half the 
speed of ISDN) has been plagued by problems 
familiar to the Internet development game: 
proprietary standards, or the lack thereof. Two 
groups of companies (U.S. Robotics and part- 
ners on the one hand, and Rockwell 



International with Lucent Technologies on 
the other) developed two 
different standards for the 
devices. Since 56K 




modems 
require both 
client and 
ISP (Internet Service 
Provider) to support the same technology, 
many ISPs have been reluctant to deploy 56K 
until the industry settles on a universal stan- 
dard. At the same time, not all phone lines 
can even handle 56K — U.S. Robotics offers a 
number consumers can call to test their 
phone lines for compatibility. And even 
under the best conditions, 56K modems are 
not likely to achieve speeds near 56K. 
Average connection rates are more reliably in 
the mid-40Kbs range. 

Currently, the standards are coalescing. 
The International Telecommunications 
Union (ITU) is slated to ratify a uniform spec 
for these modems. Once a standard is estab- 
lished, owners of most 56K modems will be 
able to download for free the software need- 
ed to comply. But the confusion brought 
about by competing standards has slowed 
consumer interest in 56K. Just as well — there 
may be better options on the near horizon. 

56K has got nothing on ADSL (asymmet- 
ric digital subscriber line), a technology that 
promises to deliver a blinding 6Mbps over 
POTS (plain old telephone service) copper 
lines, with an impressive upstream capability 
of 640 Kbps. What's more, ADSL allows 
users to talk on the same phone line while 
downloading files. This, as any veteran of the 
Internet hype wars will know instinctively, i- 
crazy talk. But it's so crazy it might just work. 
ADSL divides bandwidth into separate pack- 



40 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



ages of frequencies called carriers, allowing sev- 
eral "channels" of data to be delivered over a 
single line. Despite its experimental and theo 
r e t i c a 1 



status, 






— 


ADSL 








and its 


m^^^. Ml 


u 


— i 


variants 


iiu 


J 


(HDSL, 
VDSL, 


£&~ 


i 


j i 


SDSL, all 


^P 


w 




referred 

to as 









xDSL tor short) have been around in one form 
or another for years, formerly as part of the tel- 
cos' big bandwidth plans in the heartbreak days 
of interactive television. But like 56K, stan- 
dards have been a problem and not all existing 
phone lines can support the data speeds 
promised by xDSL. At press time, however, the 
Universal ADSL Working Group 
[www.uawg.org], which counts some of the 
computer industry's biggest guns (Microsoft, 
Intel, Lucent, Rockwell, and Compaq) as well 
as enterprising telcos (all the baby Bells, Sprint, 
and GTE) among its members, announced 
ambitious plans to establish standards and 
speed the development of consumer ADSL 
technology. 

Telephone lines are not the only way, as the 
cable companies have been saying loudly tor 
the past several years. Cable modems, with the 
tantalizing promise of coaxial connectivity and 
an established user base, were scheduled tor the 
summer ot 1996, and limited trials have been 
ongoing, though broad implementation is still a 
ways off. One problem in the short term is infra- 
structure. For true two-way high speed access, 
the cable companies will need to upgrade their 
networks to a hybrid tiber-coax cable, a costly 
and time consuming prospect that, while 
inevitable, won't be immediate. Until then, 
cable operators are arguing in favor ot the "two 
wire solution" in which coaxial delivers the 
high bandwidth downstream, with a "telephone 
return path" providing the user's upstream con- 
nection. This, for many Web devotees, will be 
just fine. Upstream connections are typically in 
the form of data queries and email — small 
bandwidth stuff. But for anyone trying to 
upload files — say, a video clip of a film-in- 
progress or a new Web page that includes a fair 
amount of graphics — a phone connection still 
means an eternity of waiting before a Zen-like 
blank screen. 

This is by no means the end of the story. 
Everyone is jumping into the access game, 



THE 




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March 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 41 



including the satellite carriers, who are devising 
schemes to deliver Internet service from space. 
But a delivery system — be it 56K modem, 
ISDN, cable modem, or advanced telephony 
like ADSL— is a hit like a sports car: it might 
purr like a kitten on the showroom tloor, hut ofl 
the lot it performs only as well as conditions 
permit. A functional cable modem or ADSL 
connection might end up very much like a 
Ferrari on the Long Island Expressway — all 
revved up with no place to go. 

Regardless or the systemic limitations of 
Internet connectivity, higher bandwidth does 
suggest possibilities for filmmakers who hope to 
use the medium as an outlet. It is in many ways 
the demand tor video and other convergence 
technologies (the co-mingling of computer 
and television functionality) that is fueling 
the push for high-speed access. The medium 
in general — still the citadel of geek speak and 
eye -glazing technical minutia — is being prod- 
ded by financial pressure and potential toward 
the mass market. That should mean two 
things: life online (and getting there) will be 
getting simpler, and, perhaps more importantly, 
there will be a larger online audience, more pre- 
pared for multimedia. Once they're connected, 
that audience will be waiting to be entertained. 

Adam Pincls 

Adam Pincus is a new media producer and writer on 

technology and indepedent film. Among the websites he 

produces are www.sundancechannel.com and the New 

York Women's Film Festival. 

Storytellers Embrace the Web 

On the Web, storytelling relies on successful 
information design — that is, the way data is 
presented to the viewer. Web stories have to be 
built with an appreciation of how the technolo- 
gies of Internet communication can both 
enhance and hinder the flow of information or 
entertainment. As the medium progresses, Web 
storytellers are beginning to shift their empha- 
sis from how information looks on a Web page 
to how it gets there. This important shift in 
emphasis has taken two tracks: some develop- 
ers try to work around the medium's limitations 
while creating online stories, while others 
design stories for the Web that take advantage 
of the medium's unique properties. 

Today there's no shortage of people attempt- 
ing to tell stories on the Web, just as in the very 
early days of cinema there were various groups 
of people racing to establish a working system 
for the presentation of moving images. Current 
experiments in Web storytelling range from 
attempts to make dynamic Web sites more like 




POV Interactive's site, 
Ready to Live, feature 
"threaded-conversatic 
tools" which facilitate 
encourage dialogue ar 
teenage viewers about 
effects of street 
violence. 



tele- 
vision to structuring 
nonlinear visual stories from databases. 
Other developers are just having fun working 
in a medium where creative expression and 
technical savvy- go hand in hand. 

Technical "work-arounds" to overcome the 
Web's infamous deficiencies include new devel- 
opments that give developers more control by 
shifting management of small image and sound 
files from the server to the user's computer (the 
"client"). Client- side control of information 
can do away with the uncertainty of relying on 
a constant connection to a server over a tele- 
phone line. Many sites now utilize JavaScript, a 
scripting language introduced by Netscape that 
allows developers to create dynamic content. 
(JavaScript is not related to Java, Sun Micro- 
system's programming language). 

As part of HotWired' s growing online -art 
archive, Signal2Noise's 49,682,923 stories about 
[www.hotwired.com/rgb/signal2noise] employs 
JavaScript to generate visual stories from a 
database of animated 19th century etchings. By- 
using JavaScript in their information design, 
the developers of 49,682,923 stories seamlessly 
combine audio and animated images, which 



load quickly and don't require a plug-in 
to play. (Before JavaScript, images and 
audio files had to be downloaded sepa- 
rately, or as part of a special file that 
could only be read with a special plug- 
in.) Because Web developers are a 
part of HotWired's target audience, 
the site also includes details about 
how the project actually works. 
The Web Show [www.forever- 
more.com], developed by artist 
Julian W, also uses JavaScript to 
tell a story in static images with 
a soundtrack running in the 
background. The story is actually a fictional 
interview with the late physicist Richard 
Feynman. Instead of relying on streaming 
audio, this site embeds sound files in the 
JavaScript code; placing sound in embedded 
files makes the site seem more like television, 
since no audio players appear on the screen. 
This is simpler for the user, but it also makes 
the experience less interactive than the best 
Web content. 

In the category of "Stories That Can't Be 
Told Anywhere Else," Web storytellers are 
designing information using database-to-Web 
publishing and threaded conversations tools. 
These technologies take advantage of what 
networked computers can do that other 
media cannot. Database-to-Web publishing 
provides structured access to huge collec- 
tions of changing information, while thread- 
ed conversations aim to build online commu- 
nities that have a chance to grow and deep- 
en. 

Ready to Live [www.pbs.org/pov/jesse], for 
example, developed by PO.V. Interactive, 
features a forum in which teenagers can add 
artwork to a project exploring the effects of 
violence. Inspired by Jesse's Gone, a film 



42 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



broadcast on the public television series 
PO.V! about the death of an East Oakland 
hip hop artist, the site echoes others at PBS 
online [www.pbs.org] that use the Web to 
extend a televised story. But the threaded 
conversation in the "open mic" section is 
arguably the most important and effective 
area of this site. Threaded conversation 
tools, server-side programs which group post- 
ings in convenient "threads," bring to the 
Web an information structure that builds a 
dynamic archive of discussions within a Web 
site. 

Database-to-Web publishing tools are 
beginning to appear in the consumer market 
in response to demand from corporate 
Intranet users, who use them to provide 
information to their employees, such as sales 
figures or company schedules. Because 
online databases make available tremendous 
amounts of information, their use as the 
engines behind Web storytelling has obvious 
potential. Glorianna Davenport and Cheryl 
Morse at the MIT Media Lab have directed 
a story about the life of Jerome Weisner, a 



M"i M," l. ' . T I "im f' I W 



Efe £« /■** Go Dw*c*» Hefe 



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Because it combines embedded audio files with still images 
Show feels much like television. 

former President of MIT and a leader in 
twentieth century science and politics. A 
Random Walk Through the Twentieth Century 
[http://ic.www.media.mit.edu/JBW] features 
an encyclopedic collection of video clips and 
text documents housed in a growing data- 
base that users can access randomly. This site 
is built for users with fast connections, and 
for users who are browsing the companion 
CD-ROM, but it's based on a database-to- 
Web information design that could be adapt- 
ed for users with slower connections. 

Streaming video and audio over the 
Internet is probably here to stay, so it's 



important to figure out how to shoot for 
streaming [see "Dr. Streamlove, or How I 
Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Web," 
Aug./Sept. 1997]. At UCLA's Center for 
Intercultural Performance, dance and media 
artists are examining what "reads" when video 
is streamed over the Internet. As part of Save as 
Dance, a dance documentation program co- 
directed by the UCLA National Dance/Media 
Project and the National Initiative to Preserve 
Dance, the center provides experimental 
footage at [www.arts .ucla.edu/centers/cip/juke- 
box. htm]. There are numerous other sites on 
the Web that stream audio and/or video, 
including the Alternative Entertainment 
Network [www.aentv.com], which features 
interviews by Dick Cavett with Alfred 
Hitchcock, Groucho Marx, and Orson Welles. 
Other sites are indexed on the RealNetworks 
site [www.real.com], where players tor stream- 
ing audio and video can be downloaded. 
Streaming still works better for audio than for 
video, so some sites are designed tor audio only, 
such as the History Channel's Great Speeches 
[www.historvchannel.com]. 

In becoming information 
designers, Web storytellers are 
beginning to develop new story 
forms that add to a long history of 
multimedia storytelling. In the 
fourteenth century, scribes were 
creating new stories by combining 
text, images, and musical nota- 
tion on individual pages of illumi- 
nated manuscripts. When the 
scribes set pen to paper, they 
could be prettv sure that any 
future reader would see exactly 
what they had inscribed. How- 
ever, Web storytellers can't know 
exactly how their work will func- 
tion on every desktop. Even it 
every person looking at a Web 
story uses the same browser, the 
same modem and the same type of computer, 
there will still be variations in the speed of con- 
tent delivery over the Internet. 

The challenge for Web storytellers is to 
design for those variables and many others, and 
still transmit richness and depth of content. By 
developing new forms and taking advantage of 
the unique strengths of digital media, some 
Web storytellers are taking the first steps 
toward meeting that challenge. 

Laura Knott 

Laura Knott is coordinator of the Artist in Residence 

Program at Do While Studio in Boston and the Project 

Director of Worldwide Simultaneous Dance. 



The Web 



digital film^ 



Your image 

is everything 



We just make it look good. 




Film Resolution 



>i>ftlilillilil 



Recording 

35mm Academy 
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VistaVision 
Cinemascope 

16mm 16 • Super 16 

Computer Titles 

Titles and credits to any 
35mm • 16mm • S16mm gate 

Digital-to-Film 

D-l to Film Link™ transforms 
video and digital media. to any 
35mm • 16mm • Sl6mm gate 

Digital Blow-Up 

35mm original negative 
from 16mm • Sl6mm 

Stills 

4x5 transparencies and negatives 
slides • C&R prints -from video 
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dd@mindspring.com 

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noma] 

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March 1 998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 43 



IN & OUT OF PRODUCTION 



I 



by Cassandra 

U RETZ 



TWO PUBLIC ACCESS STARS WEBCAST A 
gh( St hunt through the New Jersey woods 
as a publicity stunt to promote their program 
and demonstrate their new media savoir faire. 
The ghost doesn't show, but their ratings soar 
nontheless when their serial guide goes berserk 
and carves them up. Then a Net expert 
unearths a technical clue that hints the ghost 
masterminded the murder. Digital avatars 
Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler made The 
Last Broadcast on their desktop for a dreamy 
$900, bringing glory to Web denizens while 
opening up debt-free indie production possibil- 
ities. The Last Broadcast, FFM Productions, 
Box 147, Rushland, PA 18956; (215) 598- 
8496; www. tebweb.com/lastbroadcast. 

Out of the Loop, by Scott Petersen, is a 
long overdue scoop on the Chicago band 
scene. It recaps the glory days of Wax Trax 
Records, which churned out the industrial 
sound for mass consumption, and looks at a 
current crop of University of Chicago grads 
flexing their creative urges and assorted wild 
childs from the Wicker Park netherworlds. 
Seeing Big Black perform should be worth any 
admission price. Petersen is self-distributing 
and has been booking dates since the begin- 
ning of the year; upcoming screenings include 
a March 6-7 bill at the Wexner Center for the 
Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and a March 25 show 
at Detroit's Wayne State University. Out of the 
Loop, Headache Productions, 2130 W. Berteau 
#2N, Chicago, IL 60618; (773) 929-6912. 

Heartwood, Lanny and Steve Coder's man- 
versus-tree fable set among the glorious 
California redwoods, follows Frank, a young 
sawmill worker who learns to love the land 
through his ardor for a "lithe and spirited" log- 
ger's daughter. Frank bungles numerous 
attempts to impress his prospective father-in- 
law, and all seems lost. Meanwhile, corporate 
raiders have hit the town, threatening to close 
the local mill, owned by Logan Reeser (Jason 
Robards) unless an old-growth forest is razed, 
and Frank sees his chance to save the commu- 
nity. Written, produced, and directed by Lanny 
and Steve Coder, two brothers who have 
logged countless hours as screenwriters in the 
L.A. film industry. Heartwood, Cotler Brothers 
Productions, 22628 Erwin St., Woodland Hills, 
CA 91367; (818)884-2002. 

Sisterhood is powerful in The Female 



Closet, Barbara Hammer's homage to three 
creative virtuosos coming to terms with their 
lesbian identities. Examining the careers of pio- 
neering photographer Alice Austen, Berlin 
Dadaist Hannah Hoch, and New York celebri- 
ty Nicole Eisenman, Hammer notes the artful 
maneuvers these women employed to integrate 
their personal and professional lives, while 
exploring the bounds of women's vision within 
the visual 
arts tradi- 
tion. The 
Female 
Closet, 
Flying 
Horse 
Films, 55 
B e t h u n e 
St., #114G, 
New York, 
NY 10014; 
t e 1 / f a x : 
(212) 645- 
9077. 



recently emigrated from Mexico, Gabriela is 
everything Lopez has ever desired — except 
she's unavailable. Although the spark 
between them ignites into a passionate affair, 
she still plans to marry her old friend fiance 
waiting back in Mexico, a nice guy waiting in 
the wings she can't quite leave behind. 
Gomez' friends batter him with hardboiled 
guy advice, while Gabriela sorts through her 




Everybody's Neighborhood is Linda 
Thornburg's documentation of the rise of the 
South Side Settlement House, an unsung 
urban institution in the Columbus, Ohio com- 
munity. The Settlement House is a neighbor- 
hood touchstone, responsible in its near-hun- 
dred-year history for integrating a successively 
European, Appalachian, and African American 
district, while welcoming newcomers from 
around the world. Many social justice workers 
credit the House with playing a pivotal role in 
dispelling tensions during the Midwestern race 
riots of the 1960s, viewing it as a model of effec- 
tive urban empowerment. Everybody's 
Neighborhood: The South Side Settlement House, 
Linda Thornburg Productions, 185 Arden Rd., 
Columbus, OH 43214; (614) 267-7822; fax: 
263-1074. 

Billed as "Hollywood's first Latino love 
story," Vincent Jay Miller's Gabriela concerns 
Jamie Gomez (Clear and Present Danger), a 
lighthearted ladykiller who finds his true love 
in co-worker Gabriela (Seidy Lopez of Mi Vida 
Loca). A strong, sympathetic professional 



own feelings, torn between her need for secu- 
rity and sweet surrender. Gabriela, Grindstone 
Pictures, 839 N. June St., Los Angeles, CA 
90038; (213) 896-3012; fax: 871-2415. 

In Laughing Dead, guerrilla filmmakers 
Nancy Rhee and Patrick Gleason get a fresh 
impression off the well-trodden sci-fi turf. 
Hunter, a doom-generation lowlife with a 
heart of gold, infiltrates an undisclosed dry 
sometime in the post-Apocalyptic future 
seeking love, drugs, and redemption. Falling 
in with a landlord who milks the city's citi- 
zens for blood, Hunter embarks on a "vampir- 
ic journey of lust, power, addiction, and con- 
sumption" until he meets a cute mutant and 
gets in touch with his inner young'un. 
Laughing Dead, LD Productions LLC, 249B 
4th St., Venice, CA 90291; (310) 450-6762; 
fax: 450-6484. 

Vermont's Edgewood Studios (David 
Giancola) began shooting Icebreaker this 
January as part of a high-concept, low-bud- 
get, three-picture deal that means to put 
Vermont on the map. Ski boy Matt Foster, not 



44 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 




Luvbunnie 
Chris 
Holmes 
leads his 
band 
Yum-Yum 
Out of the 
Loop. 

Photo: 

Scott 
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one to quit at roses and a ring, takes 
on a terrorist horde that has descended on 
Huntington Lodge, kidnapped the Foster 
fiancee and her father-in-law, and threatened 
to melt the mountain with a stash of stolen plu- 
tonium, thereby ruining the season. Vermont 
thespians Larry Linville, Fred (Man with a Plan) 
Tuttle, and others light up the proceedings. 
Icebreaker, Edgewood Studios, 162 N. Main St., 
Rutland, VT 05701; (802) 863-3955; fax: 773- 
0510. 

Conditional Love, videomaker Ardele 
Lister's latest project, is a wry look by a 
Canadian expatriate at the way national identi- 
ty has developed (or not) in her native land. In 
a personal narrative intercut with interviews, 
home movies, and writings from various 
authors, Lister explores the clash between 
English and French culture that has prevented 
Canada from sustaining a unified public ideolo- 
gy and wonders whether it is, in fact, the 
world's first truly postmodern country. 
Conditional Love premiered November 7, 1997 
at the Museum of Modern Art in New York 
City. Conditional Love, 202 15th St., Brooklyn, 
NY 11215; (718) 788-4464. 

A summer romance goes terribly wrong 
when Moira (Boti Ann Bliss) discovers the 
secret her beau Eddie (Aric Cushing) is hiding 
about his troubled past. Broken and Bleeding 
never sugarcoats its teen thrills; these kids face 
madness, obsession, and death in their struggle 
with family alcoholism and abuse. But filmmak- 
ers Cushing and compadre Brian Huckeba call 
their effort "a compassionate tragedy," honor- 
ing the wars teens wage against the over- 
whelming, impersonal tides of circumstance. 
Broken and Bleeding, c/o Artisans Public 
Relations, 9019 David Ave., Los Angeles, CA 
90034; (310) 837-6008; fax: 837-2286. 



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SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM 
CONFERENCE & FESTIVAL 

Conference: March 13-17 
Trade Show: March 15-17 
Festival: March 13-21 

The SXSW Film Conference expands in 
1998 with four days of panels, workshops, 
mini-meetings and industry mentoring 
sessions with professional filmmakers to 
answer all your questions about every phase 
of filmmaking from pre-production through 
signing that distribution deal, or how to get 
your film seen if you don't. The SXSW Film 
Conference is a great place to meet your 
contemporaries working in independent film, 
and to talk one-on-one with some of the 
greatest filmmakers working today. 
Confirmed panelists for 1998 include: 
Mike Barker, Richard Linklater, Caroline 
Kaplan, Ted Hope, Harry Knowles, Charlotte 
Mickie and Tony Safford. (subject to change) 

The three day Trade Show features 
exhibitors including equipment and service 
providers, digital editing suites and new film 
and video technologies. 

The Film Festival presents the best in new 
independent film. Last year's narrative world 
premiere films that have received distribution 
since the festival include Still Breathing and 
Full Tilt Boogie. Documentaries from '97 
include: Letter from Waco, Pin Gods, A Healthy 
Baby Girl and Family Name. 

Film Registration Walk-up Rate-$225 

SXSW Film: 
PO Box 4999 
Austin, TX 78765 
Tel: 512/467-7979 
Fax: 512/451-0754 
www.sxsw.com 
E-mail: sxsw@sxsw.com 







sundance 



channel 



FESTIVALS 

[festivals@aivf.org] 



by Thomas Pallotta 

■ listings do not constitute an endorse- 
ment, since some details may change 
after the magazine goes to press, we 
recommend that you contact the festi- 
val directly before sending materials, 
deadline for submitting a call for entries is 
the 15th of the month two-and-a-half 
months prior to cover date (e.g., mar 15 for 
june issue). all blurbs should include: fes- 
tival dates, categories, prizes, entry fees, 
deadlines, formats & contact info. to 
improve our reliability and make this col- 
umn more beneficial, we encourage all 
mediamakers to contact fivf with changes, 
criticism, or praise for festivals profiled 

Domestic 

BRAINWASH MOVIES FESTIVAL, CA. 
Deadline: May 1. Fourth annual fest. All works 
must be original and less than 13 minutes in 
length. All submissions will be viewed in full by 
selected fest committee. Format: VHS. Entry 
Fees: $15 Contact: Shelby Toland, Box 881911, 
San Francisco, CA 94188; (415) 273-1545; 
www.laughingsquid.com/brainwash 

CHICAGO ALT.FILM FESTIVAL, June 10-14, 
IL. Deadline: Apr. 17. Fest is a showcase of 
indenpently produced, narrative feature films by 
Chicago, Midwest, and American filmmakers 
and provides a venue for exhibition, discussion, 
and networking. Narrative feature films will 
compete for best feature, director, script, perfor- 
mance, and cinematography. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, video. Contact: Dennis Neal Vaughn, 
executive director, Chicago Alt. film Fest, 3430 
N. Lake Shore Drive, Suite 19N, Chicago IL. 
60657; (773) 525-4559; fax: (773) 327-8669 

GOLDEN SHOWER VIDEO FESTIVAL, 
March 27-28. TX. Deadline: March 5. Looking 
for experimental, narrative, animation, 
exploitive, doc, stolen and original videos. 
Prizes: 1st: lowrider bike. 2nd: mini accordion. 
3rd: flea market surprise. Format: VHS (under 
30 min.). Entry Fee: $10. Contact: Southwest 
Craft Center, c/o Adam Rocha, San Antonio, 
TX 78205; (210) 979-1058; http://members.aol. 
com/chialtfilm/Fest/home.html 

JOHNS HOPKINS FILM FESTIVAL, April 16- 
19. MD. Deadline: early March. 1st year fest 
screens in Baltimore in and around the Johns 
Hopkins University Homewood campus. Goal of 
fest is to present the best of the current crop of 
independent films from around the world, as 
well as a couple of career retrospectives from 
established visionary filmmakers, on the beauti- 
ful Shriver Theater screen. Fest includes awards, 
panels, and seminars, as well as parties. Seeks 
features, shorts, experimental, drama, comedy 6k 
video. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, and video. Entry 
fee: $35. Contact: Film Fest, c/o Film & Media 
Program, 146 Gilman Hall, 3400 N. Charles St., 



Baltimore, MD 21218; (410) 516-5048; busker(5 
erols.com; www.erols.com/ busker/filmfest 

MARTHA'S FLAVOR FESTIVAL-FILM & 
SCRIPT COMPETITION, Aug NY. Deadline: 
Deadline for short & full-length features is May 1; 
late entry deadline is May 15. Deadline for scripts 
is April 1 . Martha's Flavor Fest specializes in sup- 
porting the independent black filmmaker. The 
focus is to increase awareness, support and recog- 
nition of independent black film through: screen- 
ings, events and script readings. Martha's Flavor 
Fest accepts material from any filmmaker who 
demonstrates creative abilities within black cine- 
ma. Accepting features and shorts. Format: 35mm, 
16mm. Entry fees: Full-length feature: $30, late 
entry: $40. Short-length: $25, late entry: $30. 
Contact: Martha's Flavor Fest, 14 Kling St., 2nd 
Fl., West Orange, NJ 07052; (212) 726-2179; fax: 
(212) 603-4373; cmpnyc@msn.com 

PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL FILM FES- 
TIVAL, Apr 17-26, FL. Deadline: Mar 6. Palm 
Beach Int'l Film Fest., now in its 3rd year, is con- 
sidered the southeast's most prestigious event. The 
'98 festival will host a series of events including 
galas, premiere parties, panel discussions, and sym- 
posia, a student film showcase, and 10 full days of 
int'l films previewing in theaters from Boca Raton 
to Tequesta. All fest net proceeds provide grants to 
enhance existing high school & college film pro- 
grams, as well as scholarships for deserving film 
students. Open to any genre, including doc, ani- 
mation, experimental, fiction, personal, narrative, 
etc. Entry fees: Features: $60; $30: shorts (under 
60 minutes in length). Contact: Palm Beach Int'l 
Film Festival, 1555 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, 
Suite 414, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401. 
(561) 233-1000; www.pbifilmfest.org 

SAN ANTONIO CINE FESTIVAL, June 3-7, 
TX. Deadline: April 9. The Guadalupe Cultural 
Arts Center's 21st annual San Antonio Cine 
Festival, seeks works by and about Chicanos and 
Latinos. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4" and 1/2" 
video. Preview on NTSC video only. Entry fees: 
$25 non-student, $10 students. Awards will be 
given in the following categories: Narrative, Doc, 
Experimental, First Work, First Work Student, 6k 
will include a special Jury Award. This year's fest 
will include additional venues and screening in 
conjunction with the Latino Laugh Festival at San 
Antonio. Contact: Ray Santisteban, Director of 
Media Arts, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 
1300 Guadalupe St, San Antonio, TX 78207- 
5519. (512) 271-3151 fax: (512) 271-3480; 
guadarts@aol.com 

STUDENT VIDEO FESTIVAL (SMARTfest), 
Fall, NY. Deadline: Apr 3. Founded in '88, fest 
organized entirely by 6k for students. All tapes 
reviewed by peer committees of students of time- 
based media. Fest seeks wide variety of interesting 
& challenging work that demonstrates concerns of 
students of all ages. All genres 6k subjects wel- 
come; works must be completed w/in previous 2 
yrs 6k no more than 28 min. Selected tapes incl. in 
6 wk exhibit in Visual Studies Workshop Gallery 
6k cablecast on RCTV public access. Fest also 
becomes part of extensive archives of Visual 
Studies Workshop Galleries traveling exhibitions 



program. About 20 works selected each yr for 
audiences of over 400. Entry fee: None (return 
postage necessary). Contact: Media Center 
Coordinator, Student Video Festival, Visual 
Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St., Rochester, NY 
14607-1499; (716) 442-8676; fax: 442-1992 

WINE COUNTRY FILM FESTIVAL, July 16- 
Aug. 9, CA. Deadline: April 30. In 12th yr, fest 
features competitive and noncompetitive programs 
in the heart of California's wine country, 60 miles 
north of S.F. Open to features, shorts, docs 6k ani- 
mation. Fest. includes Blockbuster Short Film 
Competition, David Wolper Doc. Prize, New 
Director Prize. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, some 
video. Entry fee $30. All submissions on 1/2" 
VHS. Wine Country Film Fest., 12000 Henno 
Rd., Box 303, Glen Ellen, CA 95442; (707) 996- 
2536; fax: 996-6964; wcfilmfest@aol.com; 
www.winezone.com 

Foreign 

FESTIVAL OF NATIONS, June 14-20, Ebensee, 
Austria. Deadline: April 1. All noncommercial 
films 6k videos qualified to participate. Please 
enclose short description of film. Film/video must 
be completed within the last two years. Duration of 
film is limited to 30 min. Films rated by interna- 
tional jury. Formats: 16mm, S8, VHS, S-VHS. 
Awards: "Ebenseer Bear" in gold, silver and 
bronze. The Austrian Science and art Minister 
Prize: AT 10,000. "Special Award for Best Film" of 
the Competition: The author (or one member of 
the team) will receive an invitation to participate 
free of charge in the festival in the next year. 
Special Award for the best Experimental Film. 
UNICA-Medaille Certificate for every participant. 
Contact: Erich Riess, GoumbergstraBe 82, A-4060 
Linz, Austria; tel/fax: 011 43 732 673 693 

INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR 
CHILDREN 6k YOUNG PEOPLE, July 6-17, 
Uruguay. Deadline: May 8. Annual fest presents 
overview of new films for children 6k adolescents, 
facilitates access to best 6k most diverse material 
created today 6k encourages distribution of new 
films for children. Prizes for fiction, animation, 
doc; UNESCO prize to director of best Latin 
American or Caribbean film or video. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, video. Contact: Cinemateca 
Urugua-ya, Lorenzo Carnelli 1311, 11200 
Montevideo, Uru-guay. Fax: 011 598 409 4572; 
cinemuy@'chasque. apc.org 

JERUSALEM FILM FESTIVAL July 9-18, Israel. 
Deadline: Apr. 15. 15th annual fest. will screen 
over 165 films in various cats, including int'l cine- 
ma, doc, shorts, animation, new directors, U.S. 
indep., Israeli 6k Mediterranean cinema, avant 
garde, Jewish themes 6k restorations. Awards incl. 
Wolgin Awards for Israeli cinema, Lipper Award 
for best Israeli script, Wim van Leer Award (int'l 
competition), Mediterranean Cinema Award, 
Films on Jewish Theme Award (int'l comp.). Must 
be Israeli premieres. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
video. Entry fee: none. Contact: Lia van Leer, 
Director, Box 8561, Derech Hebron, Jerusalem 
91083; tel: 011-9722-672-4131; fax: 673-3076; 
jer_cine@ inter.net.il; www.jer.cine.org.ilh 



March 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 47 




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LONDON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, June 18-25, 
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tive festival presenting features, docs, shorts address- 
ing Jewish identify 6k experience. Formats: 8mm, 
16mm, 35mm, 70mm, video. Contact: Carol 
Coombes, London Jewish Film Festival, South Bank, 
Waterloo, London SE1 8XT; tel: 011 44 (171) 815 
1322; fax: 011 44 (171)633 0786 

ST. PETERSBURG "MESSAGE TO MAN" FESTI- 
VAL, July 1-8. Russia. Deadline: April 10. Accepts 
feature doc (up to 120 min.), short doc (up to 40 
min), short fiction (up to 60 min.), animated films 
(up to 60 min.). Program incl. best debut (1st pro- 
fessional as well as student films), int'l competition &. 
special programs. Entries must have been completed 
after Jan., 1997. Cash awards. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm; preview on 1/2" VHS. Entry fee: S35. 
Contact Anne Borin, c/o Donnell Media Center, 10 
W 53rd St., NY, NY 10019; (212) 362-3412; 
Mikhail Litviakov, St. Petersburg International Film 
Festival, 12 Karavannaya 191011, St. Petersburg, 
Russia; tel: 011 7 812 235 2660; fax: 235 3995. 

WELLINGTON FILM FESTIVAL, July, New 
Zealand. Deadline: late April. Noncompetitive 
fest, now in 27th yr. From core program of 120 
features (<Si as many shorts), fest simultaneously 
presents Auckland & Wellington Film Festivals, 
programs that travel to cities of Dunedin &. 
Christchurch. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", Beta. 
No entry fee. Contact: Bill Gosden, New Zealand 
Film Festival, Box 9544, Te Aro, Wellington, New- 
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DEADLINES ARE 1ST OF EACH MONTH, TWO MONTHS 
PRIOR TO COVER DATE (E.G. MARCH 1 FOR MAY 
ISSUE). CLASSIFIEDS OF UP TO 240 CHARACTERS 
(INCL. SPACES & PUNCTUATION) COST $25/ISSUE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS, $35 FOR NONMEMBERS; CLAS- 
SIFIEDS OF 240-480 CHARACTERS COST $45/ISSUE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS, $65 FOR NONMEMBERS. ADS 
RUNNING FIVE OR MORE TIMES RECEIVE A $5 DIS- 
COUNT PER ISSUE. PLEASE INCLUDE VALID MEM- 
BER ID#. ADS EXCEEDING REQUESTED LENGTH 
WILL BE EDITED. ALL ADVERTISING COPY SHOULD 
BE TYPED AND ACCOMPANIED BY A CHECK OR 
MONEY ORDER PAYABLE TO: FIVF, 304 HUDSON ST., 
NY, NY 10013. TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD, YOU MUST 
INCLUDE: CARD TYPE (VISA/MC); CARD NUMBER; 
NAME ON CARD; EXPIRATION DATE; BILLING 
ADDRESS & CARDHOLDER'S DAYTIME PHONE. 
ADVERTISERS WISHING TO RUN A CLASSIFIED MORE 
THAN ONCE MUST PAY FOR EACH INSERTION AND 
INDICATE NUMBER OF INSERTIONS ON SUBMITTED 
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BURNS STEADICAM: The solution for all moving 
shots. Stay with the action, save time 6k cash. 
Rickshaw, vehicle mounts, wireless focus, vid tap. All 
the fight gear to yet the shot. Call: (800) 706-7977 
(pager). All calls returned. 

CAMERAMAN w solid creative vision. Owner 
Aaton SI 6 & Sony Digital DSR-200 camera packages 
w shotgun & radio mic. Andy (718) 797-9051. 

CAMERAMAN w US network 6k European broad- 
cast experience. Complete production package. Sony 
BVW D600 Betacam, lighting, audio, grip, accesories 
6k minivan. Competitive rates. Chris (201) 509-8186. 

CAMERAMAN/ STEADICAM OPERATOR: 

16SR, Beta SR Stereo TC Nagra4, TC FostexPD-4 
DAT, feature lite pkg to shoot features, music videos, 
commercials, etc. Call Mik Cnbben for info 6k reel, 
(212) 929-7728 or (800) 592-3350. 

CAMERAPERSON: Visual storyteller loves to col- 
laborate, explore diverse styles 6k formats. Brings pas- 
sion 6k productivity to your shoot. Award-winner w/ 
latest Super/ Std.16 Aaton XTR Prod, package. Todd 
(212) 686-9425; wacass(g concentric.com 

CINEMATOGRAPHER in D.C. area w/ awards 6k 
experience in TV photography, docs, national PSAs 
6k music videos. Willing to travel. Own Betacam pkg, 
35mm 6k Super 16mm pkgs also avail. Call Steven for 
reel. (301)483-9264. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Owner of Aaton reg/S- 
16mm pkg w/ video tap 6k more. Creative, efficient, 
good listener. Features, shorts, docs, music videos. 
Interesting reel. Kevin Skvorak (212) 229-8357; 
kevskvkCginx.net 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ Aaton 6k lighting, look- 
ing forward ro working w/ collaborative directors on: 
narratives, exp, docs, PSA's, music videos. Call 
Steven Gladstone (718) 625-0556 for new reel; 



March 1 998 THE INDEPENDENT 49 





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pkg, credits on films by award-winning doc. & narra- 
tive directors. Seeking opportunities on innovative 
features, docs. Low rates avail, for exceptional pro- 
jects. Tsuyoshi (718) 243-9144. 

COMPOSER for film/video, new media projects. 
Innovative sounds that won't strain your pocketbook. 
For a free demo & brochure, contact Progressive 
Media Arts at (415) 550-7172; pma(5,progmedia. 
com; www.progmedia.com 

COMPOSER & INSTRUMENTALIST who has 

scored 9 award-winning films. All styles, all budgets. 
Full recording/mixing facility. Nana Simopoulos, 
(212) 727-3705; nasimo(g sprynet.com 

COMPOSER FOR FILM/TV: Academy Award 
winning. Broadcast: PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS. Highly 
experienced & dedicated. Music in all styles w/ an 
original touch. Complete digital studio. Reasonable 
rates. Leonard Lionnet (212) 980-7689. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Award win- 

[ ning, exp, looking for interesting projects. Credits 
incl. features, docs & commercials in the U.S., 

I Europe & Israel. Own complete Aaton Super 16 pkg 
& lights. Call Adam for reel. (212) 932-8255 or (917) 
794-8226. 

| DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Breathtaking 
images by Jeffery Lando, your partner in making your 
vision real. Numerous feature credits. Arri Super 16 
pkg & lights avail. Call for reel/ conversation: (718) 
349-2130. 

I DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY looking for 
interesting features, shorts, ind. projects, etc. Credits 
incl. features, commercials, industrials, short films, 

| music videos. Aaton 16/S-16 pkg avail. Abe (718) 
263-0010. 

J DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ complete 

m Arri-Zeiss 16mm pkg. Lots of indie film experience. 

Features, shorts and music videos. Save money and 

get a great looking film. Willing to travel. Rates are 

flexible and I work quickly. Matthew: (914) 439-5459 

| or (617) 244-6730. 

DOCU-JOURNALIST w/ 15 yrs experience (broad- 
cast, indie, exp, co-productions) seeks interesting 
challenges, especially social, investigative, tech & 
political subjects needing data-crunching or comput- 
er-aided reporting. Shirley Kisaichi, (718) 802-1329; 
skisaichi(ti aol.com 

ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: frequent con- 
tributor to "Legal Brief" columns in The Independent 
and other magazines, offers legal services on projects 
from development to distribution. Reasonable rates. 
Robert L. Seigel, Esq. (212) 307-7533. 

GRANT WRITER & CONSULTANT available 
for grant research, grant writing &. fundraising strate- 
gy development. Govt. &. foundation grants for inde- 
pendent, experimental &. doc film & video projects. 
Matt (212) 260-8182. 

HOT NYC DP available w/ complete Aaton 16 516 
prod. pkg. Cannon, Zeiss, Nikon, Video Tap, e\ en- 
tiling! Feature, hot music video &. commercial reel 



50 THE INDEPENDENT March 1 998 



looking to expand, long, short form. Flexible rates 
(212) 929-7682. Reel. Res. Conversation. 

MUSIC: young composer just out of school & look- 
ing for exp will work w/ any budget styles ranging 
from suspense to ambient, symphonic to experimen- 
tal. For demo call Jon Eichner at Surreal Film Music: 
(770) 577-0800; heroless@aol.com 

MUSIC COMPOSER & LOCATION SOUND: 

Original music scores & sound design in project stu- 
dio. Friendly, experienced & knowledgable. Also 
location sound w/Nagra 4.2. Call Andy at (914) 741- 
2975 or (212) 243-4491; Andy Ryder<§ aol.com 

MUSIC FOR FILM.. .Music ...Music ...Music 
...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music 
...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music #$%&.*? ...Music 
...Music ...Music Todd Anderson (800) 925-4762 or 
(801) 467-4379 for demo. 

STEADICAM: Dolly smooth moves w/ the flexibili- 
ty of a hand-held camera. Call Sergei Franklin (212) 
228-4254. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

ASSISTANT CURATOR FOR FILM/VIDEO: 

Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN seeks Aw. 
Curator to assist w/ research & prod, of contemporary 
media exhibition programs, retrospective series, & 
artist residency projects encompassing dept.'s diverse 
int'l tilm/video presentations. Thorough knowledge 
of ind. film, video 6k new forms of moving image art 
w/ degree in film, video, media studies or commensu- 
rate area, along w/ min. of 3 yrs prof, & admin, exp 
required. Strong writing, communication skills essen- 
tial. Interest in artistic disciplines outside media arrs 
desirable. Salary 30's, excellent benefits. Sent vitae, 3 
prof, references to Gary White, HR Manager, Walker 
Art Center, Vineland PL, Minneapolis, MN 55403. 

CINEMA STUDIES & PRODUCTION FACUL- 
TY seeks instructor tor large undergraduate film c* 
video dept. Also supervise multi-section intro. cours- 
es in Film/video history 6k aesthetics. PhD preferred, 
w/ strong teaching exp, knowledge ot narrative struc- 
ture, collateral production exp in two of following: 
screenwriting, editing, doc, cinematography, produc- 
ing, directing, digital media, sound. Duties incl. 
supervising theses in production-oriented grad pro- 
gram, advising, committee work. Send curriculum 
vita, work samples (publication, reels, scholarly 
research) w/ statement ot teaching philosophy to: 
Film/Video Search, Human Resources Dept., 
Columbia College Chicago, 600 S. Michigan Ave., 
Chicago, IL 60605. 

PRODUCTION CREW TRAINEES needed in 
Atlanta. Also looking or writers, directors, music 
videos directors trainees. For details check out our 
web site at: www.MeccaMotionPictures.com 

PRODUCTION FACULTY: experienced teacher 
w/ strong knowledge of dramatic 6k narrative struc- 
ture to instruct at professional 6k entry levels of 
film/video production. Seek professional credentials 
and/or record of accomplishment as ind filmmaker, 
esp. in directing, camerawork (w/ lighting 6k densito- 
metry), editing or screenwriting. Duties include 
advising, committee work, thesis supervision. 



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LONG ISLAND 
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March 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 51 



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Minority & women applicants esp. encouraged to 
apply. Send curriculum vita, work samples (publica- 
tion, reels, scholarly research) w/ statement of teach- 
ing philosophy to: Film/Video Search, Human 
Resources Dept., Columbia College Chicago, 600 S. 
Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605. 

SEEKING SCRIPTWRITERS: Florida Public 
Broadcasting seeks writer(s) for a six-part doc series 
chronicling Florida's history. Applicants should be 
exp as a primary on long-format pieces for national 
TV. Exp in historical genre preferred. Interested in 
applicants whose prior work demonstrates ability to 
tell engaging nonfiction story, w/ imagination &. dra- 
matic structure. Applicants will work in collaborative 
environment w/ senior producer &. historical advi- 
sors. Research staff is avail. Relocation unnecessary. 
Writing commences April '98 for 6-8 months. Salary 
neg. Send one page cover letter &. resume of not 
more than 4 pages to: Florida Public Broadcasting, 
Box 10910, Tallahassee, FL 32302; fax: (850) 414- 
9998. Please, videos or scripts at this time. FPS is an 
EOE. 

TENURE TRACK POSITION /ONE YEAR VIS- 
ITING POSITION in film, video, audio & 
scriptwriting in the Film/Video/Animation dept. 
beginning Sept. '98. Dept. faculty are working profes- 
sionals dedicated to educating independent filmmak- 
ers. Candidates should have expertise in two of fol- 
lowing: scriprwnring, film, video, audio &. animation. 
Qualifications: MFA or PhD, professional accom- 
plishment. Teaching exp desirable. Duties include 
student advising, committee responsibilities. Salary & 
rank commensurate w/ exp. Review begins Feb. 15. 
Send application, curriculum vita, 5 references to: 
Adrianne Carageorge, Film, Video & Animation 
Search Committee, Rochester Institute of 
Technology, 70 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 
14623; fax: (716) 475-5804; axcpph(g rit.edu 

TENURE TRACK/ONE-YEAR VISITING POSI- 
TION in 2D &. 3D in the FilmMdeo/ Animation 
dept., School of Photographic Arts &. Sciences, 
Rochester Institute of Technology'. Beginning Sept. 
'98. The dept. faculty are working professionals dedi- 
cated to the education of independent filmmakers. 
Candidates should have expertise in 2D/3D comput- 
er &. camera animation. Qualifications: MFA or PhD 
& professional accomplishment in the field. Teaching 
exp desirable. Duties will include student advising & 
committee responsibilities. Rank & salary commen- 
surate w/ exp. Candidates w/ ability to support 
school's commitment to cultural diversity, pluralism, 
ck individual differences are strongly preferred. Send 
vitae, 5 references to: Maria Schweppe, 
Film/Video/Animation Search Committee, Rochester 
Institute of Technology, 70 Lomb Memorial Drive, 
Rochester, NY 14623; fax: (716) 475-5804; 
mkspphfa rit.edu 

TV JOURNALIST w/ cinema verite heart seeks cin- 
ematographer &. editor for video projects for 
European network. Boston based. Doc & segments. It 
you love to zoom or wipe, do not apply. Fax to Vivien 
at: (617) 258-8100; vmarxtamit.edu 

Preproduction • Development 

FEATURE SCRIPTWRITING WORKSHOP w 



52 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



Suzanne Myers, NYU prof, writer/dir. Alchemy (best 
feature, SXSW). Limited space. Individual consul- 
tation also available. (212) 226-8568. 

GREAT SCRIPTS WANTED by independent 
producer seeking scripts for development/produc- 
tion. Send scripts, treatments (incl. SASE if neces- 
sary) to, Donnelly Film Productions, 263 West End 
Ave, Su. 12G, NY, NY 10023. 

SU-CITY PICTURES EAST PRESENTS: The 

Screenplay Doctor, The Movie Mechanic & The 
Film Strategists. Experienced story editors/ post- 
prod, specialists provide insight 6k analysis for your 
screenplays, treatment, synopses 6k films-in- 
progress. Major credits incl.: Miramax, Warner 
Bros., Fine Line, WGA, DGA, IFR Multimedia, 
Advanced Tech., Interactive consultations. 
Competitive rates. Call for brochure: (212) 219- 
9224. 

POSTPRODUCTION 

$10/hr VHS SUITE: $20: 3/4"-3/4". $15: VHS 
3/4". Open 7 days 6k eves. Free titles, Amiga 6k spe- 
cial FX. Also: Hi8, A/B roll, S-8 film, dubs, photo, 
slides, stills, audio, prod., editor/training. The Media 
Loft, 727 6th Ave. (23rd) (212) 924-4893. 

16MM 6k 35MM OPTICAL SOUNDTRACKS: 

If you want "High Quality" optical sound tor sour 
film, you need a "High Quality" optical sound nega- 
tive. Call Mike Holloway, Optical Sound Chicago, 
Inc., 676 N. LaSalle St., #404, Chicago, IL 60610; 
(312) 943-1771 or eves. (847) 541-8488. 



16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate 6k 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound-transfer facilities, 24-hr 
access. Downtown, near all subways 6k Canal St. 
Reasonable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

16MM SOUND MIX only $80/hr! Fully equipped 
mix studio for features, shorts, docs. 16mm post ser- 
vices: picture 6k sound editorial, ADR, interlock 
screening, 16 mag xfers (.06/ft incl. stock), 16mm 
edgecomding (.0125/ft.) Tom (201) 807-0155. 

3/4" SONY SP OFFLINE SYSTEM W/TLME- 
CODE: 9850 deck w' timecode generator/reader, 
9800 deck w/timecode reader, RM450 controller 6k 
two 13" monitors. Single deck rentals available for 
Avid users. Negotiable, low rates. (718) 284-2645. 

36 GIG AVID 400S w/ Beta SP, 3/4", VHS decks, 
CD 6k cassette players in fully equipped production 
office. Safe, central Manhattan location. Deals on 
longterm rentals. Producer's desk also available. 
Tina: (212) 387-7718. 

AVID 8000 6k 1000 SUITES: Pleasant, fnendlv, 
comfortable Upper West Side location. On-line 6k 
off-line, AVR 77, Protools, reasonable 6k affordable 
rates. Technical support provided. (212) 595-5002 or 
(718) 885-0955. 

AVID MCXPRESS: Latest version, off-line/on-line. 
D2 quality. Neg. rates to suit your budget. Fast editors 
available. Beautiful, comfortable location; 25th 6k 
Fifth Ave. (212)633-9469. 

AWARD-WINNING EDITOR w Avid 6k Beta SP 

facility. Features, shorts, doc, music videos, educa- 
tional, industrials, demos, tnhgual Spanish/English/ 



Catalan. Low introductory rates. Nuria Olive-Belles, 
(212) 691-3538. 

BRODSKY 6k TREADWAY Film-to-tape masters. 
Reversal only. Regular 8mm, Super 8, or archival 
16mm to 1" or Betacam SR We love early B6kW 6k 
Kodachrome. Scene-by-scene only. Correct frame 
rates. For appointment call (978) 948-7985. 

EDITOR: Exp Avid editor avail, for freelance work 
on independent docs 6k features. Strong doc back- 
ground. Interested in projects challenging in form 6k 
content. Rates adjustable based on project. John: 

(212) 787-5481. 

FILMFRIENDS: A one-stop production services co. 
w 35mm, 16SR, Beta SP pkg, TC Stereo Nagra4, TC 
FostexPD-4, SVHS, Steadicam, 6k much more tor 
rent. Call Jay (212)620-0084. 

MEDIA 100 EDITOR: Accomplished visual story- 
teller will edit on your equipment or in my fully- 
equipped project studio. Credits: several narrative 
projects, major ad agencies (Young 6k Rubicam, 
Warwick Baker 6k O'Neill, Seiden Group), accounts 
(Johnson 6k Johnson, Arm 6k Hammer, PSEckG), and 
corp. projects (The Equitable, LISA Today, CUNY, 
SUNY). Studio w, Media 100XS (300KB), 54GB 
storage, Beta, Scanner, DAT, Photoshop, Illustrator, 
After Effects. John Slater (800) 807-4142. 

MEDIA 100 XS: Washington, DC editing w/ or 
without skilled editor. Strong graphics capabilities. 
Affordable, Broadcast cameral pkg 6k crew avail. DC 
stock footage. Call Arlen Slobodow: (301) 656-7244- 




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March 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 53 



NOTICES 

lindependent@aivf.org] 



notices of relevance to aivf members are 
j listed free of charge as space permits. 

■ the independent reserves the right to 
edit for length and makes no guarantees 
about the number of placements for a 
given notice. limit submissions to 60 
words and indicate how long info will be cur- 
rent, deadline: 1st of the month, two months 
prior to cover date (e.g., april 1 for june 
issue). complete contact info (name, mailing 
address & telephone numbers) must accompa- 
ny all notices. send to: independent notices, 
five 304 hudson st.. 6th fl, ny, ny 10013. we try 
to be as current as possible w/ information, 
but please double-check before submitting 
tapes or applications. 

Competitions 

BE1GEL SCREENPLAY AWARD: $5,000 cash 
prize offered in conjunction \v From Script to Screen, 
a 5-day screenplay development conference pro- 
duced by Independent Feature Project in assoc. w 
WGA/East. New Beigel Award Directory lists all 
competing projects 6k is mailed to industry & devel- 
opment executives. Feature-length scripts accepted 
through March 20. For into & tees contact: From 
Scnf.no Screen, [FP, 104 W 29th St, 12th FL, NY, NY 
10001: (212) 465-8525; www.ifp.org 

LOW-BUDGET FEATURE PROJECT: screen- 
wriring contest offered by Cyclone Entertainemt 
Group. Winning script will he produced as feature 
length film. Deadline: April 1, 1997. For info and 
application, send SASE to: Cylcone Productions, 
attn: Low Budget Feature Project, 3412 Milwaukee, 
Suite 485, Northbrook, IL 60062. Questions, call: 
(847) 657-0446. 

Conferences • Workshops 

ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE 

sponsored by NYSCA & NYFA. To he held Mar. 26- 
29, 1998 in Palisades, NY. For into, contact: 
Electronic Media and Film Program at NYSCA, 915 
Broadway, NY, NY 10010; (212) 366-6900 x342; 
ArTech<3 nysca.org. 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

AFRICAN FILM ACCESS: Participate in Vues 
d'Arrique, the largest festival of recent African 6k 
Creole film 6k video, by improving your French while 
exploring contemporary African, Caribbean & Asian 
Francophone cultures. Daily workshops w7 visiting 
African filmmakers, discussion grps., unlimited festi- 
val pass, partial meal plan, hotel accomodations, fes- 
tival concerts. Weekend and full festival programs 
from April 23 to May 3 in Montreal. Contact: Julia 
Schulz, (207)594-1084; www.cinema-africain.org 

AIR YOUR SHORTS: new public access cable 
show seeks short films to run 6k filmmakers to inter- 
view. No pay, just satisfaction & publicity of having 



filmi aired. Sean (714) 723-6740; hup: members. 

aol.com ShortFilmz 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE accepting entries 
tor its ongoing program, 1 he Alternative Sen 
Forum fbi Independent Film Exhibition and Beyond. 
Send submissions on 1 2" VHS tape. Feature-length 
independent film, documentary and new media pro- 
jects wanted. 1800 N. Highland, Suite 717, 1..A..CA 
3 For more into, call (215) 466-FILM. 

ASHLAND CABLE ACCESS seeks video Bhows. 
VHS, S-VHS ^ ) 4" okay, anv length or genre. For 
return, incl. sufficient SASE. Send w/ description 6k 
release to: Su:i Aufderheide, Southern Oregon State 
College, RVTV. 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland, OR 
97520; (541) 552-6898. 

AUSTIN, TX, ind. producer offering cable access 
venue to showcase ind. films 6a videos, all genres 6k 
subjects. Shorts 6k music videos linked by discussions 
on ind. films. Films/videos running longer than 40 
min. may be aired in series of 2 consecutive shows. 
Send release 6k info about film/filmmaker. 1/4" 6k 3/4" 
preferable. No payment, hut credit 6k exposure. 
James Shelton, Tex-Cinema Productions, Box 3633, 
Austin, TX 78764-3633; (512) 867-9901. 

AXLEGREASE, Buffalo cable access program of ind. 
film 6k video, accepting all genres under 28 min., 
1/2", 3/4", 8mm, Hi8. Send labeled w/ name, address, 
title, length, additional info 6k SASE for tape teturn 
to: Squeaky Wheel, 175 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 
14201; (716) 884-7172, wheelfrfreenet.buffalo.edu; 
http://freenet.huffalo.edu/~wheel 

BIG FILM SHORTS is now accepting short films, 
any genre, for worldwide distribution. Details at 
http://www.bigfilmshorts.com or for info: (818) 563- 
2633. 

BLACK BOOT MEDIA PROJECT of Perry 
Country Ind. Media Arts Center seeks ind. film 6k 
video works for regular series of roving screenings at 
various industrial, commerical 6k residential venues 
in Philadelphia 6k Harrisburg area. Submit S-8, 
16mm, VHS or S-VHS w/ SASE to: PCIMAC, Lower 
Bailey Rd., RR2-Box 65, Newport, PA 17074. For 
info contact: Jeff Dardozzi (215) 545-7884. 

BLACKCHAIR PRODUCTIONS accepting video, 
film and computer-art submissions on an ongoing 
basis for monthly Independent Exposure screening 
program. Artists will be paid an Honorarium! 
Looking for experimental, erotic, narrative, subver- 
sive, animation and documentary works, but will 
screen anything. Submit a VHS, clearly labeled with 
name, title, length, phone number along with a SASE 
if you wish the work(s) to be returned. We will get 
back to you! Send submissions to: Blackchair 
Productions, 2318 Second Ave., #313-A, Seatle, 
WA, 98121. Info/details: (206)977-8281, 
joealCaspeakeasy.org; www.speakeasy.org/ blackchair. 

BOSTON FILM 6k VIDEO FOUNDATION offers 
workshops, lectures, and seminars. For complete 
schedule, contact Felicia Sullivan, Education 
Director at (617) 536-1540; fax 536-3576. 

BURLE AVANT curating "530 Lines of 
Resolution," digital video art night at Den of Thieves 
on Lower East Side in NYC. Video artists encouraged 
to submit works; no entry fees required. Send NTSC 



VHS tapes under 15 nun. by UPS or hand deliver 
to: 5 50 Lines ot Resolution, Co The Outpost, 1 18 
North 11 St., 4th tl, Brooklyn, NY 11211; (718) 
5W.2 385 

CINEMATOGRAFIA PRODUCTIONS ac- 
cepting shorts and works-in-progress seeking distri- 
bution or exposure to financial resources lor 
CLIPS, a quarterly showcase presented to invited 
audience of industry professionals. Deadline: 
Ongoing. Contact; Lou Flees, (212) 971-5846; 
louu' microedge.com. 

DANCE ON VIDEO wanted for Spirit of Dance, 
live 1-hr monthly program covering all types 6k 
aspects of dance. Under 5 min. or excerpts from 
longer works. S-VHS preferred. Call producers at 
(508) 430-1321, 759-7005; fax: 398-4520. 
Contact; Ken Glazebrook, 656 Depot St., 
Harwich, MA 02645. 

DATABASE 6k DIRECTORY OF LATIN 
AMERICAN FILM 6k VIDEO organized by Int'l 
Media Resources Exchange seeks works by Latin 
American 6k US Latino ind. producers. To send 
work or for info: Karen Ranucci, IMRE, 124 
Washington Place, NY, NY 10014; (212) 463- 
0108. 

FILMMAKERS UNITED, nonprofit org., pre- 
sents monthly film series at Silent Movie Theatre 
in Los Angeles. Year-round venue tor ind. short 
films. To submit a film (must have 16mm or 35 mm 
print for screening 6k be no longer than 40 min.,) 
send a 1/2" video copy w/ SASE to: Filmmakets 
United, 1260 N. Alexandria Ave., LA, CA 90029; 
(213)427-8016. 

ESTABLISHED NONPROFIT GALLERY 

reviewing membership applications. Benefits: 
local, national, int'l exhibition opportunities curat- 
ing 6k arts mgmt. experience, participation in a 
dynamic professional network. Categories: local, 
national, video/performance. Submit 16-20 slides, 
video, vitae, SASE: Membership Chair, A.R.C. 
Gallery, 1040 W Huron, Chicago, IL 60622. 

EXHIBIT YOUR FILMS AT GRAND ILLU- 
SION: Seattle's Northwest Film Forum seeks 
16mm 6k 35mm shorts (60 min. or less) for ongo- 
ing exhibition. Selected works shown before regu- 
lar programming at Seattle's only ind. art house 
theater. Send video 6k SASE to NWFF c/o Grand 
Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St., Seattle, WA 98105. 

GAY MEN'S HEALTH CRISIS seeks short 
videos (10 min or less) for Living with AIDS, half- 
hr magazine weekly seen in Manhattan, Queens 6k 
Brooklyn, produced by GMHC 6k NYC Dept. of 
Health. No budget for licensing programs, but 
opportunity to be seen by millions. VHS or 3/4" 
tapes (no originals) must deal w/ HIV/AIDS issues, 
or present person (s) infected/affected by 
HIV/AIDS in positive way. May not be sexually 
explicit. All tapes returned. Send to: Kristen 
Thomas, Living with AIDS Showcase of 
Independent Video, GMHC Multi-media Dept., 
129 W 20th St., NY, NY 10011; (212) 337-3655. 

HANDI-CAPABLE IN THE MEDIA seeks 
videos of any length about people with disabilities. 
Programs will air on Atlanta's Cable 12. No fees, 
however credit ckexposure to large viewing audi- 



54 THE INDEPENDENT March 1 998 



ence. VHS preferred, s-VHS, 3 4" acceptable. Sharon 
Douglas, Handi-Capable in the Media, Inc., 2625 
Piedmont Rd., Suite 56-137, Atlanta, GA 30324. 

IN SHORT, a 1/2-hr program that airs bi-monthly, 
seeks submissions for public access show in NY. 
Preference given to works created w/ digital video. 
On every 4th program, work produced by or featuring 
women highlighted. Works up to 28 min., submitted 
on VHS for preview, available in 3/4". Send sub. to: 
In Short, 240 East 27th St., Suite 17N, NY, NY 
10016; (212) 689-0505. 

KNITTING FACTORY VIDEO LOUNGE seeks 

experimental shorts on VHS for on-going screening 
series. Send tape w/ SASE for return to: Box 1220 
Canal Street Station, NY, NY 10012. 

INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE consid- 
ers proposals for new, innovative programs &. limited 
series for public TV on an ongoing basis. No finished 
works or applications for development. Contact: 
ITVS, 51 Federal St., Suite 401, San Francisco, CA 
94107; (415)356-8383. 

LO BUDJIT FILMZ AND VIDEOS seeks submis- 
sions for VHS or Less, show focusing on camcorder 
movies. Embarass old friends, showcase your dusty 
old tapes. Large bi-coastal audience. Send to: Lo 
Budjit, 147 AveA,BoxlRNY,NY 10009; (212) 533- 
0866. 

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TELEVISION seek- 
ing story proposals from U.S. citizen or permanent 
resident minority filmmakers for National Geographic 
Explorer, award-winning doc series. To request appl. 
for CDP (Cultural Diversity Project), call: (202) 862- 
8637. 

NEW BREED FESTIVAL seeks student/ind. 
shorts — narrative only — for bi-monthly cafe screen- 
ings in Lambertville, NJ &. on NJ & PA public access. 
Send 1/2" VHS + info w/ SASE to New Breed, 217 
N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ 08530. 

NEW YORK FILM BUFFS; film society promoting 
indie films seeks 16mm 6k 35mm features, shorts & 
animation for ongoing opinion-maker screenings dur- 
ing fall & winter seasons. Send submission on VHS 
tape w/ SASE to: New York Film Buffs, 318 W. 15th 
St., New York, NY 10011; (212)807-0126. 

OCULARIS: New screening room seeks 16mm 
shorts for regular screenings in East 
Village/Williamsburg area of NYC, particularly by 
local filmmakers. Please call or send SASE for info: 
Ocularis, 91 N. 4th St., #3R, Brooklyn, NY 11211; 
(718) 388-8713. 

REAL TV looking for dynamic videos: news, weath- 
er, sports, bloopers, busts, "caught in the act." Real 
TV, syndicated, daily video magazine, will showcase 
compelling videos from around the world — from pro- 
fessionals as well as amateurs who capture video 
snapshots of life in the '90s. Tapes will not be 
returned. Contact: Real TV, Hollywood Center 
Studios, Stage 2, 1040 N. Las Palmas, Los Angeles, 
CA 90038; (213) 860-0100. 

SUDDEN VIDEO call for entries. Ind. curators seek 
short works. Looking for experimental works that 
approximate emotional tone of events that inspired 
their production. Works should be under 10 min. 
long & be available on videotape for exhibition/dis- 



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guerrfil! vicitfo ' 

Workshops in Photography & Video 
in Prague, July 1998 

Prague. Its name in Czech, Praha, 
means "threshold." Beyond its 

intoxicating array of scenic panoramas, 
in the least expected and most 
unassuming places, its back streets and 
small cafes, you will find its most 
fascinating images. 

In addition to the workshops in 
photography and video, you'll get to 
attend our famous Czech new wave film 
series, and a wide variety of lectures, 
readings, and performances by American 
and European writers and artists. 

Write or call for a complete brochure. 
Let us help you become one of the 
hundreds of artists who have had one of 
the most productive summers of their 
lives in this magical city. 

Write to: Prague Summer Seminars • Bill Lavender, 
Program Coordinator • Division of International 
Education '115 Education Building ' University of 
New Orleans • New Orleans, LA 70148 • Call toll 
free: (888) 291-8685 ' email: praguess@aol.com 



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tribution. Send submissions on VHS 6k SASE to: 
Gori Raad, 17 Edward Ave., Southampton, MA 

01073. 

TIGRESS PRODUCTIONS seeking 8mm or S-8 

footage of 42nd St. /Times Square area from 1960s 6k 
70s for doc. All film returned, sonic paid, film credit. 
Contact: June Lang (212) 977-2634. 

TV-1 PRODUCTIONS seeking footage on Cuba for 
upcoming doc. Every aspect of life in the island wel- 
come. Formats: Hi8, SVHS, 3/4", Beta, DVD, 8mm 
6k 16mm. Tapes returned. Payment negotiable. For 
more into, contact: Marcos N. Suarez, 2102 Empire 
Central, Dallas, TX 75235; (214) 357-2186. 

TYME TOWER ENTERTAINMENT seeks fea- 
ture-length 6k short films for Ind. Filmmakers video 
series. 16mm, 35mm, F3/W or color. Send 3/4" or 1/2" 
VHS copy to: Tyme Tower Entertainment, c/o Tyme 
Tower Home Video, 810 E. Coliseum Blvd., ste. 107, 
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1234; (219) 481-5807. 

UNQUOTE TV: 1/2 hr nonprofit program original 
music that suits all film 6k video artists, seeks ind. 
doc, narrative, exp, performance works under 28 min. 
Seen on over 40 cable systems nationwide. No pay- 
ment. Submit to: Unquote TV, c/o DUTV, 33rd 6k 
Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19104; (215) 895- 
2927. 

UPLOAD YOUR VISIONS: The Sync Internet 
Video Gallery seeks short noncommercial ind. films 
to showcase on website. Filmmakers must own rights 
to all content, inch music. Send videos 6k written per- 
mission to display film to: Carla Cole, The Sync, 443 1 
Lehigh Rd., #301, College Park, MD 20740; (301) 
806-7812; www.thesync.com 

VIDEO/FILM SHORTS wanted for local television. 
Directors interviewed, tape returned with audience 
feedback. Accepting VHS/SVHS, 15 min. max. 
SASE to: Box 1042, Nantucket, MA 02554; (508) 
325-7935. 

VIDEOSPACE AT DECORDOVA MEDIA 
ARTS ARCHIVE: DeCordova Museum 6k 
Sculpture Park seeks VHS copies of video art 6k doc- 
umentation of performance, installation art 6k new 
genres from New England artists for inclusion in new 
media arts archive. Send for info 6k guidelines: 
Videospace at DeCordova, DeCordova Museum, 51 
Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln, MA 01773-2600. 

VIDEOSPACE BOSTON seeks creative videos tor 

fall 6k spring programming. Any genre 6k length. 
Nonprofit/no payment. Send VHS, Hi-8, or 3/4" with 
description, name, phone, and SASE to: Videospace, 
General Submissions, 9 Myrtle St., Jamaica Plain, 
MA 02 130. 

WORLD OF INSANITY looking for videos 6k films 
to air on local cable access channel, particularly any- 
thing odd, bizarre, funny, cool. Any length. One hour 
weekly show w/ videos followed by into on the mak- 
ers. Send VHS or SVHS to: World of Insanity, Box 
954, Veneta, OR 97487; (541) 935-5538. 

Publications 

1998 LIBRARY OF AFRICAN CINEMA: 

resource guide released by California newsreel. 
Includes 40 African produced feature films, docs, cs. 



TV productions. 48-page guide available at no 
charge from: California Newsreel, 149 Ninth 
Street, San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 621-6196; 
tax 621-6522; newsreek" ix.netcom.com; 
www.newsreel.org 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: travelling exhibi- 
tion and illustrated critical anthology about racial 
and sexual indeterminacy, fall 1999. Send slides, 
abstracts, resume or cv and SASE to Erin 
Valentino, Dept. of Art and Art History, Univer- 
sity of Connecticut, 875 Coventry Road U-99, 
Storrs, CT 06269; (860) 486-3930; fax 486-3869; 
evalentinoC't finearts.sfa.uconn.edu 

LIVING ARCHIVE INC. Annual Report may 
be viewed at its office at 262 W91st St., New York, 
NY 10024 during business hours. 

MEDIAMAKER HANDBOOK: THE ULTI- 
MATE GUIDE FOR THE INDEPENDENT 
PRODUCER: annual guide published by Bay 
Area Video Coalition. Includes: nat'l 6k int'l film 
festival listings, distributors, exhibition venues, 
media funding sources, TV broadcast venues, film 
6k video schools. For more info, call: (415) 861- 
3282 

Resources • Funds 

ARTS IN EDUCATION RESIDENCY PRO- 
GRAM, sponsored by Illinois Arts Council, pro- 
vides support to primary 6k secondary educational 
institutions, community colleges, 6k nonprofit 
local 6k community organizaitons for artist resi- 
dencies lasting one week to 8 months. Residencies 
use individual artists, performing arts companies 
or folklorists. To be considered for the Residency 
Program, artists must apply to be included in the 
AIE Residency Program Artists Roster. Decision 
tor inclusion are based upon quality of work sub- 
mitted, record of professional achievement and 
activity, and teaching and/or residency experience. 
Deadline: Spring 1998. Contact: Illinois Arts 
Council, 100 W Randolph, Suite 10-500, 
Chicago, IL 60601; (312)814-4990; ilartsti 
artswire.org 

BOSTON FILM/VIDEO FOUNDATION seeks 

proposals for fiscal sponsorship from ind. produc- 
ers. No deadline or genre restrictions. Reviewed 
on ongoing basis. Contact BFVF tor brochure: 
Cherie Martin, 1126 Boylston St., Boston, MA 
02215; (617) 536-1540; fax: 536-3576; 
bfvf(<;' aol.com. 

CALIFORNIA ARTS COUNCIL offers various 
grants 6k programs for film 6k mediamakers. 
Contact: California Arts Council, 13001 I St., 
Suite 930, Sacramento, CA 95814; (916) 322- 
6555; (800) 201-6201; fax: (916) 322-6575; 
cac(a cwo.com; www.cac.ca.gov 

CHECKERBOARD FOUNDATION awards 
$5,000-10,000 for video projects to NY State resi- 
dents w/ previosuly completed video work. 
Contact: Checkerboard Foundation, Box 222, 
Ansonia Station, NY, NY 10023. 

CREATIVE PROJECT GRANTS: Subsidized 
use of VHS.interformat 6k 3/4" editing suite (at 
ind. creative projects. Doc, political, propaganda, 



56 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES 

Individual/Student Membership 

Year's subscription to The Independent • Access to all plans and discounts • Festival/ 
Distribution/Library services • Information Services • Discounted admission to seminars • 
Book discounts • Advocacy action alerts • Eligibility to vote and run for board of directors 

Supporting Membership 

All the above for two individuals at one address, with 1 subscription to The Independent 

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All the above benefits, except access to health insurance plans • 2 copies of The Independent 
• 1 free FIVF-published book per year • Complimentary bulk shipments of The Independent 
to conferences, festivals, and other special events • Special mention in The Independent • 
Representative may vote and run for board of directors 



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www.aivf.org 



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Documentary and 
feature filmmakers, animators, experi- 
mentalists, distributors, educators, 
students, curators — all concerned 
that their work make a difference — 
find the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, the national 
service organization tor independent 
producers, vital to their professional 
lives. Whether it's our magazine, The 
Independent Film & Video Monthly, or 
the organization raising its collective 
voice to advocate for important 
issues, AIVF preserves your indepen- 
dence while letting you know you're 
not alone. 

AIVF helps you save time and money 
as well. You'll find you can spend 
more of your time (and less of your 
money) on what you do best — getting 
your work made and seen. To succeed 
as an independent today, you need a 
wealth of resources, strong connec- 
tions, and the best information avail- 
able. So join with more than 5,000 
other independents who rely on AIVF 
to help them succeed. 
JOIN AIVF TODAY! 

Here's what membership offers: 

THE INDEPENDENT FILM & 
VIDEO MONTHLY 

Membership provides you with a 
year's subscription to The Independent. 
Thought-provoking features, news, 
and regular columns on business, 



technical, and legal matters. Plus fes- 
tival listings, funding deadlines, exhi- 
bition venues, and announcements of 
member activities and new programs 
and services. Special issues highlight 
regional activity and focus on subjects 
including media education and the 
new technologies. 

INSURANCE 

Members ate eligible to purchase dis- 
counted personal and production 
insurance plans through AIVF suppli- 
ers. A range of health insurance 
options are available, as well as special 
liability, E&O, and production plans 
tailored for the needs of low-budget 
mediamakers. 

TRADE DISCOUNTS 

A growing list of businesses across the 
country offer AIVF members dis- 
counts on equipment and auto 
rentals, film processing, transfers, 
editing, and other production necessi- 
ties. Plus long-distance and overnight 
courier services are available at spe- 
cial rates for AIVF members from 
national companies. In New York, 
members receive discounted rates at 
two hotels to make attendance at our 
programs and other important events 
more convenient. 

CONFERENCE/SCREENING 
ROOM 

AIVF's new office has a low-cost 
facility for members to hold meetings 
and small private screenings of work 
for friends, distributors, programmers, 
funders, and producers. 



INFORMATION 

We distribute a series of publications 
on financing, funding, distribution, 
and production; members receive dis- 
counts on selected titles. AIVF's staff 
also can provide information about 
distributors, festivals, and general 
information pertinent to your needs. 
Our library houses information on 
everything from distributors to sample 
contracts to budgets. 

WORKSHOPS, PANELS, AND 
SEMINARS 

Members get discounts on events cov- 
ering the whole spectrum of current 
issues and concerns affecting the 
field, ranging from business and aes- 
thetic to technical and political top- 
ics. Plus: members-only evenings with 
festival directors, producers, distribu- 
tors, cable programmers, and funders. 

ADVOCACY 

Members receive periodic advocacy 
alerts, with updates on important leg- 
islative issues affecting the indepen- 
dent field and mobilization for collec- 
tive action. 

COMMUNITY 

AIVF sponsors monthly member get- 
togethers in cities across the country; 
call the office for the one nearest you. 
Plus members are carrying on active 
dialogue online—creating a "virtual 
community" for independents to 
share information, resources, and 
ideas. Another way to reach fellow 
independents to let them know about 
your screenings, business services, and 
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promotional &. commercial projects are not eligible. 
Editor/instructor avail. Video work may be done in 
combination w/ S-8, Hi8, audio, performance, pho- 
tography, artists, books, etc. Studio includes Amiga, 
special effects, A&B roll, transfers, dubbing, etc. 
Send SASE for guidelines to: The Media Loft, 727 
6th Ave., NY NY 10010; (212) 924-4893. 

EXPERIMENTAL TELEVISION CENTER pro- 
vides grants and presentation funds to electronic 
media/film artists and organizations. The program 
provides partial assistance; maximum amount varies. 
Presentations must be open to the public; limited- 
enrollment workshops and publicly supported educa- 
tional institutions ineligible. Applications reviewed 
monthly. Contact: Program Director, Experimental 
Television Center, 109 Lower Fairfield Rd., Newark 
Valley, NY 13811; (607) 687-4341. 

FUND FOR JEWISH DOCUMENTARY FILM- 
MAKING offers grants from $5,000-$50,000 for 
production/completion of original films & videos that 
interpret Jewish history, culture &. identity to diverse 
public audiences. Applicants must be US citizens or 
permanent residents. Priority given to works-in- 
progress that address critical issues, combine artistry 
6k intellectual clarity, can be completed within one yr 
of award, & have broadcast potential. Deadline: 
April 1. Guidelines & applications: National 
Foundation for Jewish Culture, 330 7th Ave., 12st Fl., 
NY, NY 10001. (212) 629-0500, x205. 

ILLINOIS ARTS COUNCIL (IAC) SPECIAL 
ASSISTANCE ARTS PROGRAM: Matching 
grants of up to $1,500 avail, to IL artists for specific 
projects. Activities that may be funded: registration 
fees 6k travel to attend conferences, seminars, or 
workshops; consultant fees for resolution of specific 
artistic problems; exhibits, performances, publica- 
tions, screenings; materials, supplies, or services. 
Funds awarded based on quality of work submitted 6k 
impact of proposed project on artist's professional 
development. Appls must be received at least 8 wks 
prior to project starting date. Degree students not eli- 
gible. (312) 814-6750. 

INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY ASSOCI- 
ATION OFFERS KODAK PRODUCT GRANT. 

No deadline for 1998 submissions. Applicants must 
be IDA members residing in U.S. Full-time students 
not eligible. Only documentary and non-fiction pro- 
jects may apply. Porject's proposal must be accepted 
in IDA's Fiscal sponsorship program with the original 
video budget. For more info., contact Grace Ouchida 
at IDA: (310)284-8422. 

JOHN D. 6k CATHERINE T MACARTHUR 
FOUNDATION provides partial support ot selected 
documentary sereies 6k films intended for national or 
international broadcast 6k focusing on an issue with- 
in one of the Foundation's two major programs 
(Human and Community Development; Global 
Security 6k Sustainability). Send preliminary 2- to 3- 
page letter to: John D. 6k Catherine T MacArthur 
Foundation, 140 S. Dearborn St., Suite 1100, 
Chicago, IL 60603-5285; (312) 726-8000; 4answers 
@macfdn.org; www.macfdn.org 

MATCHING GRANT FOR RESTORATION 

offered by VidiPax. VidiPax will match 20% of fund- 
ing received from gov't, foundation or corporate 
funding agency. Individual artists need nonprofit fis- 




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104 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001 



cal sponsorship to apply. Video &. audiotape restora- 
tion must be performed at VidiPax. Contact: Dara 
Meyers-Kingsley, (212) 563-1999, xlll. 

MEDIA ALLIANCE assists NYC artists & nonprof- 
it organizations in using state-of-art equipment, post- 
prod, ck prod, facilities at reduced rates. Contact: 
Media Alliance, c/o WNET, 356 W. 58th St., NY, NY 
10019; (212) 560-2919. 

NATIONAL LATINO COMMUNICATIONS 
CENTER "provides equity-position financing & 
related production support for projects that portray 
the depth &. breadth of the Latino experience." 
Submissions accepted in February, April, June, 6k 
August. Submit proposals, screenplays (standard for- 
mat) or 1/2" sample reels to: Marisa Leal, Director of 
Programming, NLCC, 3171 Los Feliz Blvd., Suite 
200, LA, CA 90039; (213) 663-5606. 

NEW YORK STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS 

offers grants to film, mediamakers. Deadline: March 
1. For application, contact: NYSCA, 915 Broadway, 
8th Floor, New York, NY 10010; (212) 387-7000; fax: 
387-7164. 

I OPEN DOOR COMPLETION FUND: Nat'l 
Asian American Telecommunications Association 
(NAATA) offers completion funding for projects in 
final stages of postproduction, w/ awards averaging 
$15,000. Works should present fresh & provocative 
takes on contemporary Asian American & Asian 
issues, have strong potential for public TV & be of 
standard TV lengths (i.e., 30 min., 1 hr, etc.). 
Conact: Charles McCue, NAATA Media Fund, 346 
Ninth St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 
863-0814; fax: (415) 863-7428; chariest naatanet. 

| org.; www.naatanet.org 

I PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICA- 
I TIONS provides grants for development of nat'l pub- 
1 lie TV broadcast programming by 6k about indige- 
nous Pacific Islanders. Appls available from: PIC, 
1221 Kapiolani Blvd., #6A-4, Honolulu, HI 96814; 
(808) 591-0059; fax: 591-1114; piccom(aelele. 
| peacesat.hawaii.edu. 

PANAVISION'S NEW FILMMAKER PRO- 
GRAM provides 16mm camera pkgs to short, non- 
profit film projects of any genre, including student 
thesis films. Contact: Kelly Simpson, New Filmmaker 
Program, Panavision, 6219 DeSoto Ave., Woodland 
hills, CA 91367-2601; (818) 316-1000 x220; fax: 
(818) 316-1111. 

PEN WRITERS FUND & FUND FOR WRIT- 
ERS & EDITORS WITH AIDS. Emergency funds, 
in form of grants 6k interest-free loans of up to $1,000 
given each year to over 200 professional literary writ- 
ers, including screenwriters, facing financial crisis. 
PEN's emergency funds are not intended to subsidize 
writing projects. Contact: PEN Amercian Center, 
568 Broadway, NY, NY 10012; (212) 334-1660. 

PRODUCTION GRANT PROGRAM, sponsored 

by LA Film Collaborative, provides production assis- 
tance, industry recognition & professional script cov- 
erage. Projects must be budgeted under $1 million 
and have first or second time director/producer team. 
For application, contact: LA Film Collaborative, 
(213)937-9155. 



58 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



SHORT-TERM ARTISTS RESIDENCY PRO- 
GRAM sponsored by Illinois Arts Council, provides 
funding for Illinois nonprofit organizations to work w/ 
professional artists from Illinois to develop & imple- 
ment residency programs that bring arts activities 
into their community. Each residency lasts from 1 to 

5 days or the hourly equivalent. The IAC will support 
50% of the artist's fee (min of $250 a day plus travel; 
the local sponsor must provided remaining 50% plus 
other expenses. Applications must be received at 
least 8 weeks prior to residency starting date. IAC 
encourages artists to seek sponsors & initiate pro- 
grams. Call for availability of finds. IAC, 100 W. 
Randolph, Suite 10-500, Chicago, IL 60601; (312) 
814-6750; fax: 814-1471; ilarts@artswire.org. 

SOROS DOCUMENTARY FUND supports int' 
doc. films and videos on current & significant issues 
in human rights, freedom of expression, social justice 

6 civil liberties. Three project categories considered 
for funding: initial seed funds (grants up to $15,000), 
projects in preproduction (grants up to $25,000), pro- 
jects in production or postproduction (average grant 
is $25,000, but max. is $50,000). Highly competitive. 
Proposals reviewed quarterly. For more info., contact: 
Soros Documentary Fund, Open Society Institute, 
400 W. 59th St., NY, NY 10019; (212) 548-0600. 

SPECIAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS offered by the 
Illinois Arts Council. Matching funds of up to $1,500 
to Illinois artists for specific projects. Examples of 
activities funded are registration fees & travel for 
conferences, seminars, workshops; consultants fees 
for the resolution of a specific artistic problem; 
exhibits, performances, publications, screenings; 
materials, supplies or services. Funds awarded based 
on quality of work submitted &. impact of proposed 
project on artist's professional development. 
Applications must be received at least 8 weeks prior 
to project starting date. Call for availability of funds. 
Illinois Arts Council, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 10-500, 
Chicago, IL 60601; (312) 814-6570 toll-free in IL 
(800) 237-6994; ilarts@artswire.org 

STANDBY PROGRAM provides artists & nonprof- 
its access to broadcast quality video postprod. ser- 
vices at reduced rates. For guidelines & appl. contact: 
Standby Program, Box 184, NY, NY 10012-0004; 
(212) 219-0951; fax: 219-0563. 

TEACHERS MEDIA CENTER dedicated to edu- 
cators interested in video technology. Latest project is 
setting up nat'l ck int'l video pen pal exchanges; 
would like to hear from interested schools, individu- 
als, or organizations. Contact: Teachers Media 
Center, 158 Beach 122nd St., Rockaway Beach, NY 
11694; (718)634-3823. 

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS offer 
seminars on "Copyright Basics," "Not-for-profit 
Incorporation and Tax Exemption," 6k more. 
Reservations must be made: (212) 319-2910. 

WOMEN'S FILM PRESERVATION FUND of 

New York Women in Film & Television is seeking 
proposals for the funding &. preservation or restora- 
tion of American films in which women have had sig- 
nificant creative positions. Application deadline: 
March 15. Contact: NYWIFT, 6 E. 39th St., New 
York, NY 10016; (212) 679-0870; fax: 679-0899. 



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Sarr/s.- continued from p. i 1 

A lot of people are involved in driving a 
movie. I just saw Sidney Lumet's Critical 
Care. The person who really keeps it together 
is [actor] James Spader. In a great many 
movies it's the acting that drives it; in other 
movies it's the writing or cinematography. But 
I took a stab just to get auteurism started. I 
wanted to shock people. I made some 
extreme statements. I said I preferred Cukor 
over Bergman. I wouldn't say the same thing 
today. Nonetheless, auteurism has gone on. 

One way it has gone on is in the independent move- 
ment. You dealt mostly with traditional Hollywood 
studio directors. How would you define "indepen- 
dent" films? 

I don't have any set definitions. The main- 
stream has sort of collapsed; there are no stu- 
dios anymore. There are all these indepen- 
dent production companies. It's become very 
easy for people to make a film outside the cor- 
porate structure. The trick is to get people to 
see them. These movies have a hard time 
reaching an audience, because the indepen- 
dent directors don't have money for market- 
ing. 

Is it easier to become an auteur now as a result of 
the freedom that independent production may 
bring? Or is it harder because there are still pres- 
sures to make formula films that will sell? 

It's not easier or harder. Talent is very 
unevenly distributed, and the independents 
are no exception. There are a few indepen- 
dents with a great deal of talent and a great 
many with little talent. That's the awful 
truth. Nothing's to be gained by making a 
mantra of the term "Independent Cinema." 
It's like when you say, the "Nouvelle Vague." 
There's a shaking-out process. Some of it will 
be good, and some of it won't be. 

How would you characterize independent films 
today and your role as a critic vis-a-vis these 
movies? 

A lot of the so-called independent movement 
is in the tradition of the noir genre. Others are 
postmodern. Some don't display the crafts- 
manship that we used to take for granted. It's 
a mixed bag. They have to run the gamut, like 
everything else. 

But I'm always on the lookout for new peo- 
ple, new things. I'm always looking for that 
sense of renewal. I'm not somebody who sits 
back and says, "Give me the good old days." 
However, I'm an historian, and I believe there 



GO THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



were great people in the past. 

My problem is to call attention to things 
that have merit. I'm very encouraged; I just 
don't have time to see as many things as I'd 
like. Of course, videos have made it possible 
for me to see a lot of movies I might not have 
seen otherwise. 

You have taught film at Columbia University for a 
long time. What part does film school play in devel- 
oping independent filmmakers who want to create 
their own style? 

There are young people who don't want to be 
told too much about the good old days, the 
masters, because they want to feel they can 
break through on their own. Develop their 
own style. They don't want to get writer's 
block. 

Martin Scorsese was an exception. He studied old 
films at NYU, which helped him as a director. 

Right. Scorsese could have been a great film 
historian. Now Tarantino is an interesting 
example, because he graduated from the 
University of Video Stores, which is a great 
training ground, and he's very innovative. 

Any final words on the importance or role of the 
auteur theory? 

When I first started, I was just a guy who had 
never been to Hollywood, trying to figure it 
out, reading film magazines. Since then, with 
all I know now about what has gone on over 
the years, I'm amazed that anything good 
ever came out of this chaos called filmmak- 
ing. To me that's the big miracle. And movies 
are a miracle; they're magical. 

People ask me, "Are you saying that Buster 
Keaton is equal to Samuel Beckett?" I'm not 
saying that Keaton is the equal to Beckett. 
But Keaton plus cinema equals Beckett. In 
other words, there's something marvelous in 
the medium itself. The central question that 
has yet to be answered satisfactorily is, What 
makes a good movie. 7 That's where you start. 
That's always been the starting point. I didn't 
start with a group of personalities or a single 
personality and say, "This man is great." I 
said, "There's this movie." Why is this movie 
so much better than so many others that are 
superficially similar to it? I made a supposi- 
tion that the director has a great deal to do 
with it. Because he's on the set, and he was 
there when it happened. 

Marion Wolberg Weiss is an Adjunct Professor at the 

State University at Stony Brook and author of Martin 

Scorsese: References and Resources. 



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LABS: Continued from p. 29 

Know your rights: Most labs are honest, but 
some may try to take advantage of your inex- 
perience. I've had experience with labs that 
have tried to pass off shoddy work, over-bill, 
and generally give poor service. Another book 
on labs that can provide guidance on this is 
Recommended Procedures for Motion Picture and 
Video Laboratory Services, compiled by the 
Association of Cinema and Video 
Laboratories. It outlines standards, recom- 
mended procedures, and terminology used by 
most laboratories. It is available through film 
bookstores and can sometimes be obtained 
from labs that are A.C.V.L. members. 

You can get things for free if you know- 
how to ask: Camera reports, cores, cans, bags, 
shipping labels, gray scales, free tests, and more 
is yours for the asking if you do it right. Before 
you start a project, talk to your sales rep. It is 
often worth it for a lab to supply some of these 
items for your production since you plan to use 
them for your film. Every little bit helps. 

Avoid paying C.O.D.: When there is a 
problem with a lab, often your only recourse is 
to hold back payment. If you have already paid 
up front, the lab doesn't have a whole lot of 
incentive to fix your problems. It's unfortunate 
but true. If you can't establish credit on your 
own, find a co-signer or offer a credit card as a 
back-up to your account. What this means is 
that if you don't pay your bill, the lab will auto- 
matically access your credit card for payment. 
But they can't do this if there is a dispute over 
a bill. If you can't get credit, pay with a credit 
card. Don't pay with cash or by check. If you 
have a dispute with your lab, call your credit 
card company immediately and contest the 
charges. The lab won't be paid by the credit 
card company until the dispute is settled. 
Remember, money is king. But be fair; if they 
do a good work, pay them immediately. 

Finally, remember that labs want and need 
your business. They themselves admit that 
they are often overbooked and not perfect, but 
just like filmmakers, they want to do the best 
work they can. When I talked to Joe Violante 
of Technicolor, he was overseeing the creation 
of 30 answer prints at once. "We are dealing 
with complex mechanical, chemical, and elec- 
tronic processes and often tight schedules. 
Sometimes things just go wrong," he explains. 
"We are not perfect, but give us a chance. 
Don't put up a wall. . . learn who we are. We 
need each other!" 

David Gumcola is a Vermont-based filmmaker and 

owner of Edgewood Studios. Giancola is currently in 

production on the feature Icebreaker for Los 

Angeles-based distributor Artist View Entertainment. 



62 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 



ART HAPPENINGS: Continued from p. 64 

Chicago, IL 

Call for dates and locations 

Contact: Oscar Cervera, (312) 751-8000x2564 

Cleveland, OH 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Annetta Marion, (216) 781-1755 

Dallas, TX: 

When: 3rd Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m. 

Where: Call for locations. 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 823-8909 

Denver/Boulder, CO 

When: Call for dates. 

Where: Kalces Studio, 2115 Pearl St. 

Contact: Diane Markrow, (303) 449-7125 or Jon 

Stout (303) 442-8445. 

Houston, TX: 

When: Last Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m. 

Where: Call for locations. 

Contact: Houston Film Commission Hotline, (713) 

227-1407 

Kansas City, M0: 

When: Second Thursday of each month, 7:30 p.m. 
Where: Grand Arts, 1819 Grand Blvd. 
Contact: Rossana Jeran, (816) 363-2249 

New Brunswick, NJ 

Call for date and locations. 
Contact: Allen Chou (908) 756-9845 

New Haven, CT: 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Jim Gherer, Aces Media Arts Center, (203) 

782-3675 

Sacramento, CA 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Armond Noble, (916) 457-3655 

San Diego, CA: 

Call for dates and locations. 
Contact:: Carroll Blue, (619) 594-6591 

Seattle, WA 

Call for dates and locations. 
Contact: Joel Bachar, (206) 282-3592 

St. Louis, MO: 

When: Third Thursday of each month, 7 p.m. 
Where: Midtown Arts, 3207 Washington St. 
Contact: Tom Booth, (314) 776-6270 

Tucson, AZ: 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Beverly Seckinger, (520) 621-1239 

Washington, DC: 

Call for dates and times. 

Where: Herb's Rest., 1615 Rhode Island Ave., NW 

Contact: DC Salon hotline (202) 554-3263 x4. 

Westchester, NY: 

Call for date and locations 

Contact: Bob Curtis, (914) 741-2538; 

reel ll@aol.com 

YOUNGSTOWN, OH 

Call for dates and times. 

Contact: Art Byrd, The Flick Clique; www.cboss. 

com/flickclique. 



Millennium Campaign Fund 

The Millennium Campagtii Fund is a 3-year 

fundraising initiriative to develop a $1 50,000 

cash reserve fund tor the Foundation for 

Independent Video and Film by the year 2000. Since 

its inauguration in March 1997, we have raised, at 

press time, more than $55,000. We would like to 

thank those who have so generously donated to 

the Millennium Campaign Fund. 

(All donations received as of 1/27/98) 

Corporate/Government Donors 
New York State Council on the Arts; Home Box Office 

Honorary Committee Members 
(donations of $500 or moree) 

Ralph Arbjck, John Bard Manulis, Peter Buck C-Hundred 
Fibn Corp., Hugo Cassrrer, Martha Gxiidge, i\'ii< /its. Bill 
jersey Richard K^Iberg, Tom LeGoff. Helame & Sidney 
Lemer. Diane Markrow, Leonard Merri Kurz Daiid & 
Sandy Picker, REM Athens, LLC James Schamus, Robert 
L Se^et Michael Sape, Liza Varm Smah, Robert E. \V be 

Friends 

(donations of $100 or more) 

Barbara Abrash, A\an Berliner, Tessa Blake, Doug Blixk, 
Susan BoaW, Esq., Bob Brodsky, Florence Burke, Jefj 
Bush, Pamela CaitCTt, Daxid Camochan, Chnsttne 
Choy, Norman Couie, Keith Crofji/rd, Jinval-u.ni LXiyu n, 
Helen De MichieL Lorn Dmg Aaron Edison, Bill 
Emretnhofer, Cassian Eiues, Fanlight Productions, Chns 
Fanna, Valerie Fans, Fum Forum, Bonnie Fmnegan, 
Kenneth Fishet Frank Fraaaroi, Peter Friedman, Parnaa 
Uinvhv,. Barabam Hammer Henry Hampton, Hal 
Hartley, ft'iiltim Hertnnit;. James/^herj/^Katbv Higli, 
Dehnah Hoffman, led Hope, Zuzana Jusanan, Tiaa 
Kane, Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, Michael G. KmdL. fern 
Lauler; Riibv Lemer; Peter Leunes, Mark Lipman, 
Laurence Loeuoiger, Jason Lyon, Charles MacFarLW, 
Jadi Magee, Jan McKay, Robb Moss, Michel Negroponte, 
John OBnen, October Films, Off Shore Pictures, Eloise 
Payne, Anthoiry Peraacos, Mimi Pickering, Robert Richter; 
Ross S. McEiuee, John Schwartz, Vivian Sobchack, Buddy 
Sautres, James Stark, George C Stonex Helen Strazler, 
Tom Treadway, Mark Tusk, Barton \Xeiss, Susan 
Wittenberg; Lauren ZaLunick, Get Zanajnger 

FIVE, the educational affiliate of AIVF, supports 
a variety of programs and services for the indep- 
ndent media community, including publication 
of The Independent. None of this would be pos- 
sible without the generous support of the fol- 
lowing foundations and government agencies: 

Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Center for Arts 
Criticism, DC Commission on the Arts and 
Humanities, Heathcote Art Foundation, Albert A. 
List Foundation, John D. and Catherine T Mac- 
Arthur Foundation, National Endowment for the 
Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, 
Rockefeller Foundation, and Andy Warhol 
Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. 

We also wish to thank the following corporations 6k 
individuals: 

Benefactors: Forest Creatures Entertainment® 

Patrons: Pamela Cohen; Jeffrey Leiy-Hinte, Robert L 
Segei Esq.; James Schamus, Roger E. \Xeisberg 

Sponsors: C&S, lra'l Insurance Broken, Inc.; Dand W 
Haas, Dr. V. Hu/riagel/Wfoman's Cable Network; Leonard 
MerriR Kurz Co., Juki Ribeno, J. B. Sass/Lemng Go 
Foundation, DebrnZtrnrnerrnan 



John Slater 



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March 1998 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T 63 



AIVF//APP EN N I NGSby Leslie A Fields 



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MEMBER NEWS 
BROADCAST 




Annual Membership Meeting 

The AIYF annual membership meeting will be held 
Friday evening, April 3 at Manhattan Neighborhood 
Network, 537 West 59th Street (between 10th &. 
11th Ave's.)i NYC. The meeting is open to all. 
AIYF members will receive a separate notice in the 
mail. 

Health Insurance Update 
hip HMO 

AIVF has just joined Independent & Retail Business 
Associates (IRBA) which otters a health insurance 
plan through HIP For more information about this 
new plan contact insurance agent Jeff Bader, (718) 
291-5433. 

Trade Discount Update 

Moondance Productions 

630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1212, NYC 10036; (212) 
315-2000; Fax: (212) 586-1572. Contact: Bob 
Schapiro or Eileen Conlon. Receive 10% to 30% dis- 
count (depending on hours of availability-) on editing 
services: Avid, AYR-77, Media Log; all formats: Beta 
SR DVC Pro, DV-CAM, 3/4", VHS, D-7, Hi-8. 

Lichtenstein Creative Media 

1600 Broadway, Suite 601, NYC, 10019; (212) 765- 
6600; Fax: (212) 765-6550; email: lcm@ 
lcmedia.com. Contact: June Peoples. 15% discount 
on mini-DY and DVcam dubs to beta and equip- 
ment rental. 

Virgin Moon Post 

56 East Main Street, Ste. 207, Ventura, CA 93001; 
(805) 652-6890; fax: (805) 652-6899; www.virgi 
nmoon.com. Contact: Ken Finning. AIVF members 
receive a 10% discount on all post-production ser- 
vices: Media 100XS; Beta SR Adobe After Effects, 
Adobe Photoshop, Boris Effects, on-line off-line, 
Frosh Music Library, DLT Back-up, and Quicktime. 

Not Receiving Your 
Independent? 

If you have any problems receiving The Independent 
or questions regarding your AIVF membership, 
please call LaTrice Dixon or Marya Withers, (212) 
807-1400x236. 



AIVF EVENTS 

Millennium Campaign Fund Benefit: Independent 
Filmmaking inside & outside the studio system 

Are you interested in working with the studio system 
while still maintaining your independent voice? 
Then come to this exciting panel seminar which 
includes Kasi Lemmons-Hall (Eve's Bayou) and 
Vondie Curtis-Hall (Gridlock 'd) and is hosted by 
actor director Ossie Davis. The panel will discuss 
the triumphs and pitfalls of independent filmmaking 
and provide a unique perspective on making films 
inside and outside of Hollywood. Admission' prices 
for this event are as follows: Advance tickets: $20 
AIYF members/$25 general; Day of event: $25 
members $30 general. All proceeds from this event 
will go to support the Foundation of Independent 
Video and Film's Millennium Campaign Fund. For 
tickets and/or more information call the AIVF-DC 
Hotline: 202-554-3263 x4. 
When: Tuesday, March 10, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 
Where: American Film Institute Theater, JFK 
Center for the Performing Arts, New Hampshire 
Ave., NW at Rock Creek Parkway. 



Annual NYC Student Salon 

Students here's your chance to make your voice 
heard. Come to AIVF's annual student salon to cel- 
ebrate student contributions to the independent 
media community and to network with other media 
students in the NYC area. There will be a special 
screening of AIVF student member work chosen 
from UVFA's Touring Festival of International 
Student Film & Video. Student representatives for 
the AIYF FIYF board will be chosen at this time. 
This event is free and open to all. 
When: tba (call the RSVP hotline for updates) 
Where: tba 
RSVP: 212-807-1400x301 

Meet & Greets 

These are opportunities for members to meet pro- 
ducers, distributors, hinders, programmers, and oth- 
ers to exchange information in an informal atmos- 
phere at the AIVF office. Free;to AIVF members , 
S10 for others. Space is limited. RSVP required: 
(212) 807-1400 x 301. Please specify event, and 
leave your name, phone number, and membership 
number if applicable. 

NEW LINE CINEMA 

Amy Henkels, Vice President of Production 

In its 29 years in business New Line Cinema has pro- 
duced and or distributed such films as House Parry, 
The \iask, Dumb and Dumber, Friday, Don Juan de 
Marco, My Family, and Fine Line's Hoop Dreams and 
The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls m Love. 
New Line licenses its films to auxiliary markets such 
as cable, broadcast television, and the international 
market, and also distributes home videos and has a 
growing television division. 

Amy Henkels has worked with New Line for over 
two years. She was Executive Producer on two New 
Line releases: love jones and Money Talks. She is cur- 
renlty in development on a number of other films, 
both book adaptations and original scripts. Space is 



limited, RSVP early. Free to AIVF members, $10 

others. 

When: Please call the RSVP Hotline for date and 



AIVF ON-LINE ACTIVITIES 

[www.aivf.org] 

Special ON-LINE Forum: TAXES, taxes, taxes 

If you're an independent media maker who is self- 
employed either full- or part-time, then you know 
that filling out your taxes can be hell — what 
should I write off, what can I write off, do I fill out 
the 1040A, 1040, or 10 something...? 
Visit AIVF's on-line forum and have your ques- 
tions answered by a professional CPA. 
When: March 23-March 27. 
AIYF forums are archived and available at the site. 

FILM BYTES 

Stop in every 4th Friday of the month, 9:00 p.m. at 
pseudo.com for FILM BYTES, a webcast series 
about independent production. Produced by 
Kinotek and presented on the Pseudo On-line 
Network. Check our website for this month's 
guest. 




ON LOCATION 



MONTHLY MEMBER SALONS 
This is an opportunity for members to discuss 
work, meet other independents, share war stories, 
and connect with the AIVF community across the 
country. Note: Since our copy deadline is two 
months before the meetings listed below, be sure to 
call the local organizers to confirm that there have 
been no last-minute changes. 

Albany, NY: 

When: 1st Wednesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Borders Books 6k Music, Wolf Rd. 
Contact: Mike Camoin, (518) 895-5269 
Atlanta, GA 

When: Second Monday of the month, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Red Light Cafe, Amsterdam Outlets off of 

Monroe Dr. 

Contact: Genevieve McGillicuddy, IMAGE (402) 

352-4225 

Austin, TX: 

When: Last Monday of the month, 8 p.m. 
Where: Electric Lounge, 302 Bowie Street 
Contact: Ben Davis, (512) 708-1962 

Birmingham, AL 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Michele Foreman, (205) 298-0685 

Boston, MA: 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Susan Walsh, (617) 965-8477 

Brooklyn, NY: 

When: 4th Tuesday of each month; call tor time 
Where: Oirie's Qiffeehouse, 7th Ave. & Lincoln PI. 
Contact: Glenn Francis Frontera, (718) 646-7533 

Continued on p. 63 



64 THE INDEPENDENT March 1998 




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TK^I^^ J APRIL 1998 _ 

independents 

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Woody Allen: On the Road Again 

in Barbara Kopple's Wildman Blues 

plus: Reports from Sundance, IFFCON 

Digital Tech on Set 



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^independent ^ 

April 1998 

Publisher: Ruby Lerner 

Editor in Chief: Patricia Thomson 

Managing Editor. Ryan Deussing 

Editorial Assistant: Cassandra Uretz 

Contributing Editors: Lissa Gibbs, Luke Hones. Barbara Bliss 

Osborn, Thomas Pallotta. Rob Rownd, Robert L Seigel, Esq. 

Art Director: Daniel Christmas 

Advertising: Laura D. Davis (212) 807-1400 x 225 



National Distribution: Total Circulation 

(Manhattan) (201) 342-6334: 

Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 

Printed in the USA by Cadmus Journal Services 

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 
Die Independent Film 4 Video Monthly. 304 Hudson St, NY. NY 10013. 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is published monthly except 
February and September by the Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FTVF). a 
nonprofit tax-exempt educational foundation dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film. Subscnptjon to the magazine ($45/yr individual: $25/yr student S75/yr library; 
JlOQ/yr nonprofit organization: $150/yr business/industry) is included in annual mem- 
bership dues paid to the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (ATVF). the 
national trade association of individuals involved in independent film and video. 304 
Hudson St, NY, NY 10013. (212) 807-1400; fax (212) 463-8519; 
independent@aivf.org; http//www.aivf org 
Periodical Postage Paid at New York, NY. and at additional mailing offices. 

Publication of The Independent is made possible in part with public funds from the New 
York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 
Publication of any advertisement in The Independent does not constitute an endorsement 
AIVT/FIVT are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to the editor Letters may be edited for 
length. All contents are copynght of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 
Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent The Independent is indexed in the Alternative Press Index 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film. Inc. 1998 

ATVF/FTVF staff: Ruby Lemer, executive director: LaTnce Dixon, membership/advocacy 
associate; Leslie Fields, membership coordinator. Jodi Magee. development consultant 
Johnny McNaic information services coordinator; Tommy Pallotta. webmaster. Leslie 
Singer, director of administration: I Wang, membership assistant Marya Wethers, mem- 
bership assistant 

AJVF/F1VF legal counsel: Robert I. Freedman, Esq., Leavy. Rosensweig & Hyman 

ATVT/FrvT Board of Directors: Todd Cohen*. Loni Ding (co-president). Barbara Hammer. 
Ruby Lemer (ex officio). Graham Leggat Peter Lewnes. Richard bnklater. Cynthia 
Lopez*. Jim McKay. Diane Markrow (secretary). Laala Matias*. Robb Moss (chair), 
Robert Richter (treasurer), James Schamus*. Barton Weiss (co-president). Susan 
Wittenberg (vice president). 
* FTVF Board of Directors only. 




FEATURES 



26 Barbara Kopple's Lessons in L 



In 1976, Barbara Kopple hurst onto the scene with her searing 
labor documentary Harlan County, U.S.A. For the next two 
decades, she has managed to produce a steady stream of work- 
on average, a Him a year. Her most recent, Wddman Blues, is a 
behind-the-scenes look at Woody Allen's European jazz tour. 

by Patricia Thomson 



'<^ 



wr~* 



A The Lure of Homicide 

Perhaps it's because a film director, B 
R"rry LeviriSOn, started the series. 

whatever the reason, NBC's Homidde 
put out the welcome mat for independents. 

by Max J. Alvarez 



Let's Do Lunch 



nakers do: eat out Here's 
ndies go to chill, me' 



by Oliver Jones 



MEDIA NEWS 

4 Angelika, 
Houston 

The Angelika Film Center just 
got a whole lot bigger. With a 
Houston theater up and running 
and more to come, Angelika is 
aiming to be the nation's top 
national specialty chain. 

by Richard Baimbridge 




2 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



and wife-to-be Soon-Yi Previn take a breather from the 
during Allen's European jazz tour, documents 
Photo courtesy Fine Line Features 



5 Footage '97: They Wrote the Book 

That old standby, Footage '89, is old news. In with the new. 
Footage '97 makes its debut. 

by Cassandra Uretz 
DISTRIBUTOR F.A.Q. 



8 



Milestone Film & Video 



Five years ago, Milestone started out by distributing a package 
of silent films. It has since grown to include recent films along- 
side the classics in its roster, both homegrown and foreign. 

BY LlSSA GlBBS 



TALKING HEADS 

10 Tony Barbieri, Greg Sax & American 
Cinematheque's Margot Gerber 

by Holly Willis &. Amy Goodman 



FIELD REPORTS 



14 Treasure Hunting 
at Sundance '98 



The Independent goes on record 
with its second annual awards 
list, highlighting all kinds of 
hidden treats. 

BY Cara Mertes & 
Patricia Thomson 



18 The $6 Million Man 



An acquisition deal at Sundance is every filmmaker's dream. 
So what's it like to get one — with Miramax, no less? 
Next Stop Wonderland director Brad Anderson describes 
the surreality of it all. 

by Brad Anderson 



19 Maverick Movies: Slamdance '98 

Up Main Street in Park City, Slamdance carries on — and 
comes of age. 

by Ruby Lerner 





21 Hills and Valleys: An IFFCON '98 Diary 

How a documentarian tares at the annual international 
cofinancing conference in San Francisco. 

by Robert M. Goodman 



24 Shorts in Style 

New York's Shorts International 
Film Festival debuts with aplomb. 

by Cassandra Uretz 



IN FOCUS 



35 Digital Gentrification 

How digital products are spreading to the film set. 
by Rob Rownd 



IN & OUT OF PRODUCTION 




FESTIVALS 



NOTICES 



CLASSIFIEDS 



AIVF HAPPENINGS 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 3 



MEDIA NEWS 



EDITED BY R Y A N" D E U S S I N G 



I 




New York's Angelika Starts Chain in Houston 



In Houston rms January, Reading Entert- 
ainment, who together with City Cinemas 
owns and operates Manhattan's Angelika Film 
Center, unveiled the first in a planned chain of 
satellite cinemas bearing the Angelika name. 

Houston's Angelika, like its SoHo name- 
sake, is an upscale alternative to both main- 
stream multiplexes and traditional arthouse 
theaters, offering moviegoers a gourmet cafe 
and bar, plush theaters, state-of-the-art sound, 
and a mix of current releases from major stu- 
dios and specialty distributors. Press material 
even claims that the newest Angelika's full- 
sized screens offer audiences "an almost 
IMAX-effect." 

In addition to the dozens of theaters 
Reading operates in Puerto Rico and Australia, 
the company has announced plans for a major 
U.S. expansion that would include additional 
theaters in the Pasadena, Atlanta, Dallas, and 
Hackensack markets. (Formerly Reading 
Railroad, Smerling's company is memorialized 
by a square on the Monopoly gameboard.) 

"Houston was a good deal to begin with," 
says Jack Foley, vice president of marketing for 
Reading Entertainment. "There's a strong 
enough cultural depth there. It's a metropoli- 
tan center similar to any city." 

The difference, he says, is that downtown 
Houston was virtually deserted until Angelika 
decided to take the plunge by bringing a more 
affluent clientele to a cultural destination in 
the ailing inner city. 

"Art has expanded in terms of acceptability 
these days," says Foley. "You had theaters in 
Houston offering everything from Spice Girls to 
Welcome to Sarajevo, and our idea was, 'Let's 
take out Spice Girls and just leave Sarajevo.™ 

Any new venue with an intelligent focus on 
independent cinema is a boon to Houston, but 
the real prize for local filmmakers may be yet to 
come. Angelika has stated a commitment to 
show locally-produced independent work on 
film and video, as well as its desire to become a 
serious forum for discussions and events in the 




local film community. (Last month Angelika 
hosted a reception for AIVF executive director 
Ruby Lerner and local filmmakers.) 

"We've spoken to SWAMP [Southwest 
Alternate Media Project], which is an arts 
organization in Houston dedicated to experi- 
mental films and video," says Foley. "We're dis- 
cussing events and exhibitions for Texas film- 
makers, as well as engaging in cultural ventures 
with the arts society in Houston." 

"They really want to be an active part of the 
community and cooperate with other organiza- 
tions," says SWAMP executive director Celia 
Lightfoot. "I even think other venues can ben- 
efit from Angelika's promotion of independent 
film. The more the merrier, really." 

To succeed, however, Angelika will have to 
compete not only with other alternative venues 
(like Landmark Cinemas, which already has a 
strong presence in Houston), but also with 
start-ups like Robert Redford's collaboration 
with General Cinema, Sundance Cinemas. 

"Competing with Sundance is part of the 
process," says Foley. "But we're operating at 
such a high standard that anyone better look at 
what we're doing before they start another the- 
ater." 

What sets Angelika apart, aside from its 
decor, Foley says, is that the theaters are being 
designed with the concerns of filmmakers in 
mind. 



"I saw Jackie Brown at 
another theater," he 
says, "and then I saw 
it at the Angelika. At 
the Angelika, in the 
scene where he's 
pouring sugar, you 
could literally hear 
the sugar being 
poured. To a guy like 
Tarantino, that's im- 
portant. The guy 
would make a movie 
smell if he could. 
That's what we're 
shooting for." 

Richard Baimbridge lives in New York and writes for 
Paper, Vibe, and Time Out New York. 



FOOTAGE 97 

Worth the Wait 

YOU HAVE THREE DAYS TO GET A SHOT OF THE 
Jerusalem jellyfish, and not just any shot. On 
this project, you need footage no one has seen 
before. But the jellyfish lives at the bottom of 
the Mediterranean, you can't swim, and your 
regular deep sea DP is on vacation. What do 
you do? Reach for Footage 97, the film indus- 
try's primary sourcebook of moving images for 
hire. 

Footage 97 is a sleek update of the 1989 
edition, now a universal presence on 
researchers' shelves, that standardized and 
consolidated information on film archives. 
Footage 89 organized disparate data into a 
coherent system, listing thousands of North 
American government, commercial, and uni- 
versity film collections, private archives and 
public research centers, and an extensive sub- 
ject index. Introductory essays pave the way 
through the catalog's thicket ot listings, dis- 



4 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



cussing core issues from copyright law to tilm 
preservation and making its data user-friend- 
ly for both experts and beginners. 

"Footage 89 is the Bible. It's fabulous," says 
producer Peter Miller (Frank Lloyd Wright). 
"Every project I've ever gotten started on, 
the first thing that I do ... is to open up 
Footage 89. 1 can't quite understand how any- 
body could have done archival film research 
before it existed." 

In addition to aiding archival researchers, 
Footage 89 was developed in response to the 
pressure cable television, home video, and 
other developing media were placing on the 
industry to outgrow its mom-and-pop ori- 
gins. Filmmakers who desired to engage 
viewers with novel images and who needed 
to minimize shooting 
expenses now had a 
place to turn. 

Many filmmakers 
were also inspired by 
odd juxtapositions in 
the Footage annals, or 
discovered obscure 
collections in its 
source listings that 
made all the differ- 
ence. 

"Books allow you 
serendipity," says 
Rick Prelinger, who 
published the first 
Footage and now 
serves as its senior 
editor. "If you're at 

the early stages of conceiving a project, and 
you're looking for something very specific, 
when you look in that book you're going to 
get ideas about all kinds ot other things, and 
it will effect your creative conception of your 
project." Prelinger cites as an example the 
award-winning documentary Eyes on the 
Prize, whose producers were "able to access 
all sorts of local TV collections, especially in 
the South, that nobody knew about betore 
the first edition came out." 

Thanks to this auspicious beginning, 
Footage 97 is far more sure of its audience. 
Second Line Search, the research company 
that bought Footage from Prelinger 
Associates, has modernized the new edition 
with an engaging high-tech format, and 
maintains a sales website (www.fbotage- 
sources.com) where the book can be ordered 
for $195. Footage 97 is double the size of its 
predecessor, including more than 3,000 
entries and an index with 10,000 subjects. 




Expanding from its North American focus to 
cover 100 nations worldwide, many of which 
are only now letting their collections see the 
light of day, Footage 97 portends a new era of 
archival films. A services section also lists legal, 
technical, and management contacts for home 
and abroad. 

Essayists in Footage 97 vex over new prob- 
lems, particularly regarding digital technology. 
While some describe streaming software as the 
next wave, looking to the day when filmmakers 
will download high quality images over the 
Internet, other researchers caution against rely- 
ing exclusively on the Web tor information. 
"There's no substitute for the archivist, the per- 
son who actually works with the collection," 
says Miller. "I called up my archivist friend and 
said 'Hey, I just found all 
this stuff on your Web 
site,' and he said, 'You 
know, 97 percent of it is 
disintegrated old nitrate 
film. It doesn't exist any- 
more; it turned to dust.' 
There's limited utility to 
what you actually find on 
the Web, because lots ot 
times the database hasn't 
been properly purged or 
maintained." 

Glamorous gadgetrv 
aside, the real subject in 
Footage 97 is account- 
ability in the age ot 
heightened access, with 
essayists highlighting an 
on-going question ot cultural authority. As 
more people compete to rewrite history or 
affect the future through media, concern over 
who controls information and who sees it takes 
on significance. As an informational resource, 
Footage 97 certainly eases the researcher's job, 
but it also points out the questions raised by our 
new freedom to find even-thing and use only 
the parts that we like. 

Cassandra Uretz is editorial assistant at The 
Independent. 



Errata 

To clarify an answer that appeared in the Jan/Feb 

"Distributor F.A.Q." with First Look 

Pictures/Overseas Filmgroup, Overseas has 220 

films of various genres in its library. FLP, the 

domestic theatrical releasing division of Overseas, 

has over 30 works in its collection. Overseas 

Filmgroup is a public company trading under the 

symbol OSFG. The answers in the interview were 

provided by Maud Nadler, vice president of 

creative affairs at FLP. 



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MILESTONE FILM VIDEO 



BY LlSSA GlBBS 




Amy Heller and Dennis Doros with their son. 
All photos courtesy Milestone 

Milestone Film & Video, 275 West 96th St., Suite 28C, 
New York, NY 10025; (212) 865-7449; fax: 222-8952; 
MileFilms@aol.com; contacts: Amy Heller, President 
& Dennis Doros, Vice President. 

What is Milestone Films? 

It's an extremely independent small distribution compa- 
ny that was founded by the wife-and-husband team of 
Amy Heller and Dennis Doros. We handle all kinds of film, 
all kinds of cinema, with the major criteria being that we 
really believe in each of our films. 

Unofficial motto or driving philosophy behind 
Milestone: 

Great films from any age. anywhere. 

Who is Milestone? 

Amy; Dennis: Fumiko Takagi. Vice President: and Meagan 

Powers, Director of Nontheatrical Sales. And a couple of 

interns. 

How, when, and why did Milestone come into being? 

The company was founded in 1990, shortly after Dennis 
and I got married. I was working for New Yorker Films and 
Dennis was working for Kino International — both compa- 
nies which we really respect and from which we learned 
a ton. We'd been doing some work on our own, restoring 
silent films and combining them into packages. We 
assumed that Kino would distribute them, but one morn- 
ing we woke up and realized that the timing was right for 
us to start our own company — we had the films and I 
was looking for a change in my career. Then filmmaker 
Philip Haas, a very good friend, offered his films to us 
and that brought our collection to 16 titles. Shortly there- 



after Dennis left Kino and joined me, and together we 
worked out of our home for the next five years. Those 
silent films we'd been restoring became our first package, 
"The Age of Exploration," which premiered at New York's 
Film Forum in 1991. We ended up making money on that 
package, but later on we thought, "Gee, what were we 
thinking, starting a company with silent films and such an 
expensive restoration project 7 " We simply believed that if 
we believed in the films enough, other people would be 
interested in them, too. And, in fact, the films showed all 
over the country. 

What would people be most surprised to learn about 
Milestone or its founders? 

The constant presence of our 22-month-old son in the 
office is pretty surprising! That and the fact that we're 




totally self-funded and that we've actually been able to 
build a successful company that is very much in our own 
image. 

If we weren't distributing films, we'd be . . . 

far less happy than we are. 

How many works are now in your collection? 

About 150. 

Range of production budgets of films you distribute; 

From $20,000 to $20 million. 

What kind of films do you handle? 

A wide range of classic films (American and foreign) and 
independent films (American and foreign), both narrative 
and documentary, usually feature-length or packaged into 
feature-length programs. Recently these have included a 
re-release of Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 
1960) and first-time releases of films like Mamma Roma 
(Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1962), I Am Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov. 
1964). and Two Friends (Jane Campion, 1985). all previ- 



Alan Berliner 
{Intimate Stranger) 
is among the U.S. 
indies with 
Milestone 


r 


4 

V 


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$A 



ously unknown in the U.S. Newer titles include Why Has 
Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?, a mesmerizing 
Korean independent feature by Bae Yong-kyun, and a 
very eloquent Japanese independent feature. 
Maboroshi. by Hirokazu Kore-Eda. We have all of the 
documentary films of Philip Haas, who went on to make 
Angels and Insects, as well as feature-length packages 
of the work of the visual and performance artist Eleanor 
Antin, including her narrative feature. The Man without 
a World, which purports to be a silent film made in 
Poland in 1927, but of course, was made in San Diego! 
We're now handling the video sales of all of Alan 
Berliner's documentaries: Family Album, Intimate 
Stranger, and Nobody's Business. 

What drives the acquisition decisions at Milestone? 

We're most interested in films that strike us as extraor- 
dinary and which we can release in a feature-length 
format. We're very open to looking at different films. The 
quality of the films is really the most 
important thing: films that are 
provocative, beautiful, inter- 
esting, shocking, and use the 
language of cinema in different \ 
ways. We're looking for films 
that are works of art in their own ^ 
right. And with that, we figure out 
how to make the business side of 
things work for the film. It's 
very important that our 
filmmakers be happy with 
the work we do. 

Your relationship with 
filmmakers is one 
based on . . . 



8 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



Fireworks director/actor Takeshi Kitano 




■ 






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mutual respect. 

Where do you find your films, and how should film- 
makers approach you for consideration? 

Through word-of-mouth. We also go to festivals like New 
York, Toronto, Vancouver, and Berlin. We do look at unso- 
licited films, but ask that filmmakers be considerate and 
contact us first by phone and that they understand that 
most films just aren't right for every distributor. 
Unsolicited films are a little like trying to find true love in 
the want ads: the odds of finding that kind of magic just 
aren't with you. 

Your ideal film to distribute is a film that . . . 

excites critics, audiences, and us equally. 

A Milestone title is a film that . . . 

will have lasting value for the next 50 years. 

Where do Milestone titles show? 

Generally at arthouse theaters, universities, and media 
centers nationwide. Lee Krugman Associates represents 
our titles for television sales. And we've also marketed i 
a few of our films internationally. 

The most important issue Milestone faces today is . . . 

finding a balance between art and commerce. 

In 10 years Milestone will . . . 

still be around. 

You'll know Milestone has made it as a company 
when . . . 

we can afford to have a second child. 

Other distributors you admire: 

Zeitgeist, New Yorker Films, Kino International, Brussels 
AVE in Europe, and a newer Canadian distributor, 
Mongrel Media, in Toronto. 

Upcoming titles to watch for: 

Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano's narrative feature 
Fireworks, which won the Venice Film Festival in 1997. 
It's a violent and heartbreaking story about an ex-cop. 
It'll be at New York's Film Forum in March. 

Famous last words: 

Film as an art form is a cause worth fighting for. 

Distributor F.A.Q. is a column conducted by fax 
questionnaire profiling a wide range of distributors 
of independent film arid video. If you are a dis- 
tributor and want to be profiled or are a maker 
and want to find out more about a particular 
distributor, contact Lissa Gibbs, do The 
Independent, 304 Hudson St., 6th fl., 
NY, NY 10013, or drop an e-mail to: 
lissa(a sirius.com 



Lissa Gibbs is a contributing editor to The 
Independent and former Film Arts 
Foundation Fest director. 



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April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 9 



TALKING HEADS 



I 



ONE 

by Holly Willis 



Cinema-Television tor a li^t of cinematogra- 
phers in the graduate program. "I found 
Matthew T. Irving that way," explains Barbieri. 
"He'd shot one shot, which was one more than 
me." When Irving and Barbieri sat down to 
talk about movies, they found a shared affinity 
tor certain filmmakers and genres, including 
the Italian neo-realists. "I also liked his eye, his 
sense of composition, and the way he moved 
the camera," says Barbieri. "He still had a year 




Tony Barbieri got his start in filmmaking 

walking dogs. Having dropped out of the 
Columbia Film School in Los Angeles, Barbieri 
began caring for the canines of various agents 
and producers, piecing together an income on 
the edges ot the industry. One day he spotted a 
stack of scripts in a producer's kitchen, and, 
curious to see how well he fared next to the 
pros, he began reading them. "I shouldn't have 
done it," confesses the new director, "but I was- 
n't impressed. I figured I could do better." 

Barbieri figured right. His first feature, One, 
which recentlv premiered at the Sundance 
Film Festival, is a powerful story of two wasted 
lives and the attempts at reclamation deftly 
told through gesture and unspoken despair. 
The lovely film is all the more interesting given 
Barbieri's scant filmmaking background. 

Barbieri had already written a draft of One 
when he left Columbia, and although he hadn't 
yet shot a foot of film himself, he decided to go 
ahead and make One as a low-budget feature. 
He started by asking the USC School of 



of school, but he said he would commit to 
doing the film as soon as he finished." 

While Irving continued his studies, Barbieri 
continued to hone the script while studying 
filmmaking vicariously through Irving. "I was 
extremely naive and inexperienced," admits 
Barbieri. "The stuff that Matt learned he 
would pass along to me, and working together 
on the script, we came up with this whole 
voyeuristic style." Barbieri also worked through 
the script by shooting video segments of actors 
performing scenes. In this way he was also able 
to get a sense of the kinds of actors he'd need 
for the film. A third resource for the script 
came in the form of actor Jason Cairnes, whom 
Barbieri met at a party and later cast in the dif- 
ficult lead role of Charlie. Cairnes encouraged 
Barbieri not to avoid the details of everyday 
life, especially those details from his own back- 
ground that could add to the emotional realism 
Barbieri was striving to achieve. 

Barbieri put together enough money to get 
through production by asking friends and fam- 



ily for loans, and he shot for four weeks in 
August, 1996. "The production was smooth, 
but it was very hard physically," says Barbieri, 
who often slept only a few hours each night. 
Part of the ease of the production came from 
the fact that Barbieri had planned every sin- 
gle move in the film before the camera was 
turned on. "We shot exactly word for word," 
he says. "Every word and every gesture was 
on the page. I could see the entire movie 
unfold in my head." 

Many of the shots are carefully framed sta- 
tic shots that make the camera both invisible, 
as though the action is taking place regard- 
less of the camera, and decidedly apparent as 
you realize the precision of the framing and 
choreography unfolding within that space. "I 
wanted a tableaux format," explains Barbieri. 
"Each shot is like a painting, and the camera 
becomes like a fly on the wall, almost as if it 
is recording the scene accidentally. Actors 
would walk out of the frame completely." 

Barbieri also opted to keep the emotional 
tenor of the film flat. In describing a scene in 
which Charlie and his new girlfriend talk 
while lying on a bed, he says, "I wanted the 
audience to feel uncomfortable in a way. The 
actors don't really emote, and in fact, Charlie 
is like an emotional void. So with him espe- 
cially, I wanted this static awkwardness that 
indicates that he's been affected by his life 
and by being in prison." The scene unfolds as 
a single five-minute shot which ever so slow- 
ly shifts the plane of focus away from the 
actors. The result is effective. Rather than 
the predictable sex scene, we get an unex- 
pected withdrawal that clearly delineates the 
emptiness that Charlie is struggling to fill. 

While production went smoothly, Barbieri 
really suffered in post/production. "It was hor- 
rendous," he reports. "I thought getting into 
Sundance would solve a lot of problems, but 
it was so hard getting the funds to finish. I 
had tapped out all of my resources, and I was 
desperate. A couple of people said they'd give 
me the money, but only if I signed on to 
direct other films, ones that they didn't have 
scripts for but which they wanted to start 
shooting in February! I realized I couldn't sell 
myself like that." 

Barbieri eventually did find an investor 
and was able to finish cutting the film, thanks 
especially to the year-long contribution of 
Jeffrey Stephens, an editor who not only cut 
One, but took care of all the postproduction 
jobs, including music supervision and clear- 
ance. Now Barbieri is very content. "I teel 



10 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



like a five-year-old at Christmas," he says. "I 
got my dream: to see the film finished just 
the way I wanted it to be, with a sense of 
cohesiveness." 

Holly Willis is the West Coast editor of Filmmaker 

magazine. 



GREG SAX 

MIRACLE /WILE 

by Amy Goodman 

One week before his second short film 

premiered at Sundance, Greg Sax took a 
moment to contemplate the recent begin- 
ning of his filmmaking career. Born in L.A. in 




1967, he always felt at odds with the city. He 
left about a decade ago, studied semiotics 
and modern dance at Brown University, cog- 
nitive therapy in San Francisco, and finally 
made his way back down Highway 101 on 
Christmas Day in 1994- "I was panicked 
about what to do with my life," he recalls, 
smiling. "But I had an idea." 

Three years later, Sax is sitting in an L.A. 
cafe, sliding his feature-length "idea" across 
the table. Already his first two shorts, 27 and 
28, have played at Sundance, and last year 
Sax and his screenplay, Miracle Mile, were 



invited to the Sundance Institute's 
Screenwriting and Directing Workshop, an 
experience which Sax describes as "very bene- 
ficial." New York-based producer Susan Stover 
{High An, Welcome to the Dollhouse) has migrat- 
ed west to produce Miracle Mile, scheduled to 
begin production in early summer. 

Set in Los Angeles during the increasingly 
hazy, mythologized 1950s, Miracle Mile has the 
lyrical, nostalgic feel typical of a period family 
drama. "Actually, the film is almost Disney- 
ready," Sax says facetiously. "I wanted it to be 
something that would be seen and enjoyed by 
many people." With a few crucial devices, 
however, Sax manages to transcend the stan- 
dard conventions of the genre. 

The screenplay is a major departure from 
his two ardently experimental works created 
during the same period. 27, Sax's 
first short, is a staccato, ironic, 
four-minute piece that material- 
ized after he worked with HIV + 
men in San Francisco. It is a med- 
ley of images and heightened 
sounds that represent, in Sax's 
words, "some things I thought 
about at age 27 — the pain and 
irony of a generation for whom 
death threatens to become a banal 
experience." 

28 is even more dedicated to the 
manipulation of sound and viscer- 
al experience. The film takes 
place in an urban apartment and a 
fantastical forest, and there is no 
dialogue or plot. Instead, Sax 
retishizes the sounds of a man 
breathing and lingers on hypnotiz- 
ing details like a hoe entering the 
earth, a hand in a bubbling brook, 
a man's rough beard. 
Sax is quick to point out that 
there is a thematic and visual 
thread connecting his seemingly 
disparate films. "On the surface," 
says Sax, "28 and Miracle Mile aren't at all alike. 
But both are about the distance between people 
and the texture that brings them together." 

"Texture" is perhaps the most potent feature 
of Sax's vision. Given his training as a dancer 
and cognitive therapist, it's logical that there is 
something kinesthetic about his style, some- 
thing that stems from his focus on physical 
detail and the almost tangible chemistry 
between characters. 

Sax sees cinema, "the opportunity to sit in a 
dark room with strangers," as a last bastion for 



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contact in an increasingly privatized world. 
"Our modem obsession with speed and the 
transference of information, with the 'informa- 
tion highway,' makes tor an increasingly tex- 
tureless culture," he says. "There is 
only the illusion of increasing the 
connection between people on the 
Internet; there's no way to hear the 
crack in someone's voice or what 
they smell like through a computer." 

The modern privatization of 
space, Sax believes, is partly respon- 
sible for his feeling of alienation 
growing up in Los Angeles "Orson 
Welles once called L.A. 'a thousand 
suburbs in search of a city' and that's 
very true," Sax says. A big city with 
a comparatively underdeveloped 
transportation system, L.A. "literal- 
ly keeps people away from each 
other. People here can't integrate 
the act of walking into time and 
space; they're unable to conceive of 
what it means to be outside of a car." 

These themes serve as the central 
metaphor in Miracle Mile. The pro- 
tagonist, a brutal patriarch and tire 
salesman named Bill Anderson, is a 
cutthroat 1950's businessman who 
helped destroy the public railway 
system in favor of more lucrative highways. The 
film is narrated by his grandson, Will, a young 
civil engineer working to retrofit modern Los 
Angeles with a highly impractical subway sys- 
tem. Will struggles "to confront the source of 
the alienation that both he and Los Angeles 
inherited from an idyllic moment in the fifties," 
according to Sax. 

"One of the things I like most about film- 
making is that it's an endless learning curve," 
he says. "My seventh grade teacher, Chris 
Adam, taught me to never underestimate my 
audience. She introduced us to Andre Bazin 
and had us watch Man u'lth a Movie Camera." 
Sax enrolled in UCLA's film school in 1995 
and, while he has no immediate plans to gradu- 
ate, his love of learning has resulted in the rare 
versatility of his body of work, a bold oscillation 
between traditional narratives and more exper- 
imental forms. With seven new projects now in 
the works, Sax is eagerly anticipating the 
chance to introduce his brand of texture to the 
world of ready-for-consumption narratives. 

Amy Goodman is programming coordinator of the Los 
Angeles Independent Film Festival and a freelance 



MARGOT GERBER 



AAlfRfCAN CINf/VWrHEQL/F 

by Holly Willis 




What do Darren Stein's Sparkler, Larry 
Fessenden's Habit, and Nina Menkes's The 
Bloody Child have in common? Besides being 
inventive films, all three recently graced the 
Alternative Screen, the Los Angeles-based 
American Cinematheque's showcase for inde- 
pendent films and videos, both long and short. 

In 1995, the American Cinematheque's pro- 
gramming director, Dennis Bartok, decided 
that the organization needed to expand its 
purview beyond international cinema and 
American classics and begin to highlight new 
American directors. With this move, Bartok 
was returning to the mandate that drove the 
organization's previous incarnation, the notori- 
ous Filmex, which, under the leadership of 
Gary' Essert and Gary Abrahams, first showed 
the films of a number of significant indepen- 
dent directors of the 1970s. Bartok turned to 
the then recently hired Margot Gerber tor help. 

Gerber, who began working at the 
Cinematheque doing marketing, had studied 
film production at the University ot California 
at San Diego, where she worked with Jean- 
Pierre Gorin, a frequent collaborator of Jean- 
Luc Godard, and Babette Mangolte, the DP on 
several Chantal Akerman films. After graduat- 



ing, Gerber worked on a series of indepen- 
dent shorts and features as both a producer 
and production designer before joining 
TransAtlantic Entertainment in marketing 
and PR. "I found that I loved it," says 
Gerber, who discovered both an interest 
and talent in marketing, which she brought 
to the American Cinematheque in 1992. 

For assistance in uncovering the new 
directors and films emerging from the inde- 
pendent film scene, Gerber turned to close 
friend Thomas Harris, a USC Critical 
Studies grad who shared Gerber's interest 
in and familiarity with independent film- 
making. "Tom and I had co-produced a fea- 
ture together, and I knew he had an inter- 
est in this area," explains Gerber. 

Together, Gerber and Harris put together 
the Alternative Screen, an ongoing pro- 
gram of short and feature-length indepen- 
dent films and perhaps the most significant 
venue in Los Angeles for new filmmakers. 
The first show took place in 1995 and was 
a kick-ass program of shorts titled 
"Intoxicating Images" that showcased both 
shorts by established directors like Charles 
Burnett, Atom Egoyan, and Beth B, as well 
as work by newer directors, including Brian 
Cox and Tran T Kim Trang. By starting 
with shorts, Gerber and Harris announced 
the program's commitment to neglected film- 
makers, ones they felt deserved attention. 
They also indicated a willingness to mix gen- 
res, here cheerfully merging challenging 
experimental films with more traditional nar- 
ratives. Add a groovy party, a sexy ad cam- 
paign, and lots of press, and you get the birth 
of what has become an indispensable 
resource for both filmmakers and LA audi- 
ences. 

Subsequent shows have been eclectic, 
continuing to merge experimental and more 
traditional independent narrative films and 
videos. "A lot of people think, due to our 
title, that we're only interested in highly 
experimental work," says Gerber. "This isn't 
true. What I'm looking tor is something with 
a personal voice, something that isn't told 
straightforwardly." She cites the films of Wim 
Wenders and David Lynch as examples. 

Gerber finds films for Alternative Screen 
in a variety' of ways. "We have a number of 
scouts, people like [Sundance programmer] 
Bob Hawk, who make suggestions," she 
explains. "We also look at festivals, especially 
for the films that may fall through the 
cracks." Films are also sent in response to the 
open call tor work published in various film 



12 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



magazines. 

Once a film has been selected, Gerber puts 
her marketing background to work, garnering 
as much press as she can. "The L.A. press gives 
us great coverage," she says, noting that the 
organization's shorts programs are regularly 
reviewed, which is unusual. Gerber also notes 
that while filmmakers at this point do not 
receive an honorarium, they do get a great deal 
of attention. "What we can offer is our time." 
This translates into very tangible results: film- 
makers get a blurb published in over 30,000 fly- 
ers; assistance inviting acquisitions executives 
and distributors; and a crowd of movie enthusi- 
asts at their screening. 

Indeed, Gerber has also worked hard to build 
an audience. "Over the last two years, we've 
developed a core audience that trusts that 
when they come to Alternative Screen they'll 
see something interesting," she says. "We also 
do a lot of niche marketing." 

In October, the American Cinematheque 
will move to the Egyptian Theater, which has 
been renovated to historic standards. The new 
venue features a 650-seat theater and a smaller 
78-seat screening room. "We hope to expand 
the Alternative Screen program then, so that 
filmmakers will be able to book the theater for 
longer runs," says Gerber, noting that the cur- 
rent trend toward self-distribution means that 
more and more filmmakers will be looking for 
places to screen their work. 

Overall, in less than three years, the 
Alternative Screen has established itself as an 
important component in the L.A. independent 
film scene, and plans to expand only bode well 
for filmmakers and audiences alike. And, as |£ 
Gerber notes, the organization is beginning to 
have a real impact. She cites the recent 
Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best 
First Feature for Daniel J. Harris's The Bible ant! 
Gun Club, an Alternative Screen presentation 
from last fall which did not have a commercial 
run prior to its nomination, as an example. 
"This says to me that people are paying atten- 
tion, and that's great." 

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FIELD REPORTS 



§ 

I 



TREASURE HUNTING AT 





Car a Mertes & 
Patricia Thomson 

Sundance is a festival of inversions, where 

serendipity reigns over the morning cup of cof- 
fee, coincidence greets you at the theater door, 
and if you don't talk to the stranger standing 
next to you, you might be considered impolite. 
At the very least, you would be missing half the 
fun. 

With its growing popularity, Sundance has 
become a city within a city that springs up 
every year, full of thousands of people as inter- 
ested in film as you are: over 13,000 attended 
this year, up from about 10,000 last year and 
8,000 the year before. In a festival that features 
as many things as Sundance does, many worthy 
films get overlooked. As a small corrective, we 
offer a few awards of our own, a little off the 
beaten track of the festival's mainstays. 



Best Romantic Comedy 

Next Stop Wonderland 

Romantic comedies are so hard to pull off, but 
director Brad Anderson manages to hit the 
proper tone right at the top and sustain it 
throughout. Hope Davis shines in what may be 
her break-out role, and the leading men (Alan 
Gelfant and Jose Zuniga) are truly luscious. No 
official awards came its way — too commer- 
cial? — but the buzz was enthusiastic, and 
Anderson walked away with the biggest deal 
signed at Sundance '98 [see sidebar 18]. 

Most Humane Actor 

Sir Ian McKelkm 

Gods and Monsters starts from a biographical 
base, focusing on Frankenstein director Frank 
Whale (McKellan), whose openly gay lifestyle 
was too much for Hollywood decorum. Then 
director Bill Condon blends this with an imag- 
inged late-life encounter between Whale and 
his lawn-boy (Brendan Fraser). Interestingly, 




the film suggests links between Whale's night- 
mare experience in the trenches during World 
War I and his movie monsters, who also are 
outsiders in a brutal world. But the most 
absorbing part is Ian McKellan, who imbues 
Whale with a continent of emotions beneath 
his wry exterior. One of the most controlled, 
dignified, and nuanced performances from one 
of England's greatest actors. 

Most Original Use of Archival Footage 

Human Remains 

Though given due respect by the festival, shorts 
rarely garner any buzz. This year was an excep- 
tion: Jay Rosenblatt's 30-minute short, Human 
Remairis, was one of the best films at the festi- 
val, period. It portrays five dictators — Hitler, 
Mussolini, Stalin, Franco, and Mao — who in 
first-person voiceover ostensibly recount mun- 
dane, factual details about their health habits, 
phobias, love lives, and hobbies. The banality 
of evil is Rosenblatt's focus, so the director 
crops his images to hone in on the human ges- 
ture and fleeting expression. The film reinvigo- 
rates archival footage that has become invisible 
from overuse, and offers some more obscure 
sights, such as Mussolini skiing bare-chested 



down the Alps and Franco, fresh from a hunt, 
posed in front of 8,420 dead partridges. A 
thought-provoking work, especially in light of 
today's obsession with the personal lives of 
political leaders. 

Notable Shorts 

Pity the poor short films — they never get the 
attention they deserve. But this year 
Sundance programmed them with a deft 
touch and a witty feel for thematic continuity, 
and several warrant special note. Among the 
documentaries about women and young girls, 
Sienna McLean's Still Revolutionaries, 
Elizabeth Schub's Cuba 15, and Jona Frank's 
Catholic School were well-honed, charming, 
and entirely successful portraits of women 
and girls at crossroads in their lives. In Still 
Revolutionaries several women recall the pow- 
erful effect that being in the Black Panther 
Party had on their young lives. Cuba 15 pro- 
files an endearing, unselfconscious Cuban 
teenager as she celebrates her 15 th birthday, 
an occasion marked with as much ceremony 
as a marriage in Cuba. Catholic School is a 
precise, humorous portrait of young girls in 
Catholic school as they struggle to make 



14 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



sense of God, Jesus, and their favorite 
movie star. 

And then there's Don't Run, johnny in a 
category all by itself. Director Tom E. 
Brown's wacky, funny tale features a young 
man who learns that he is HIV + . The film 
is no downer, but rather an energetic, bar- 
gain-basement imitation of cult director Ed 
Wood's psychotic genre, complete with fake 
lightning, ranting monologues, and cheesy 
double exposures. 

The Spoonful of Sugar Award 

7t 

When's the last time you found your ears 
pricking up to explanations of the Golden 
Rectangle, the Archimedes triangle, and 
the Pythagoran Rule? Writer/director 
Darren Aronofsky's 71 coaxes interest and 
even suspense out of these arcane topics in 
his story of a loner mathematician who's on 
the verge of discovering the Ultimate 
Answer — a pattern behind the ordered 
chaos of the stock market. Shot on black- 
and-white reversal, Tt sweeps us into a 
nightmarish, Kafkaesque world in which 
both Jewish numerologists and Wall Street 
henchmen nip at the heels of our hero, 
determined to lay their hands on his immi- 
nent breakthrough. Live Entertainment 
picked up worldwide rights during the festi- 
val. 

The Personal Is Political 

& Political Is Personal Awards 

Paulina & Chile, Obstinate Memory 

These go to two powerful, unforgettable 
documentaries trom Mexico and Chile 



The Official 



•' 



Human Remains by Jay Rosenblatt Courtesy filmmake 

respectively. Both are clearly labors of love, 
and both span several decades of history. 
Paulina, directed by Vicky Funari and pro- 
duced by Funari and Jennifer Maytorena 



Grand Jury Prizes 
doc: The Farm 0onathan Stack & Liz 

Garbus), 

Frat House (Todd Phillips & Andrew 

Gurland) 

dramatic: Slam (Marc Levin) 

Audience Award 

doc: Out of the Past (Jeff Dupre) 

dramatic: Smoke Signals (Chris Eyre) 

Filmmakers Trophy 

doc: Divine Trash (Steve Yeager) 

dramatic: Smoke Signals (Chris Eyre) 

Directing 

doc: Moment of Impact (Julia Loktev) 

dramatic: 7t (Darren Aronofsky) 

Cinematography 
doc: Wild Man Blues, photographed by 

Tom Hurwitz 

dramatic: 2by4, photographed by Declan 

Quinn 

Freedom of Expression Award 

The Decline of Western Civilization, Part 

III (Penelope Spheeris) 

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award 
High Art, written by Lisa Cholodenko 

Special Jury Prize for Achievement 

by an Actor 

Andrea Hart in Miss Monday 

Special Recognition in 

Latin America Cinema Award 

Who the Hell Is Juliette? (Carlos 

Marcovich) 

Special Recognition in Short 

Filmmaking 

Snake Feed (Debra Granik) 

Honorable Mention in Short 

Filmmaking 
Human Remains (Jay Rosenblatt) 



Taylor, moved through sever- 
al incarnations until this fas- 
cinating mix of re-enactment 
and documentary was 
achieved. Paulina Cruz 
Suarez, the central character, 
was intimately involved with 
the writing, and it is her life 
that is profiled, from her 
young years as a sexually 
abused child in the small vil- 
lage of Veracruz, to her 
adulthood as a housekeeper 
in Mexico City. When 
Paulina returns home after decades to confront 
her memories, we see how profoundly chance 
writes all of our histories, and how difficult it is 



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A scene from Darren Aronofsky' 
Photo: Matthew Libatique. coi 



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tozoa Pictures, Inc. 



to erase the past. 

Moving from the personal fortitude of one 
woman to the courageous attempts of a nation 
to face its history, Chilean filmmaker Patricio 
Guzman has accomplished a stunning follow-up 
to his early documentary classic The Battle for 
Chile, made during the brief years that democ- 
ratically-elected Salvador Allende governed 
Chile. Returning after two decades ot exile, 
Guzman seeks out friends he knew in the sev- 
enties — before Pinochet's dictatorship, before 
memories of the possibility of democracy were 
erased by assassination and daily disappear- 
ances, and before resistance to the government 
meant risking death. In Chile, Obstinate 
Memory Guzman alternates a poignant explo- 
ration of the memories lost by the older gener- 
ation with memories found by the young stu- 
dents he meets and to whom he shows his ear- 
lier film. For many ot the younger generation, 
born after the coup and educated under 
Pinochet, this is their first knowledge of the 
hope and optimism Allende had brought. Their 
speechless, overwhelming reaction is a moving 
testament to the power of optimism and 
tragedy of lost hopes. 

Most Contentious Q&A Session: 
Some Nudity Required 

Lively, emotional, soul-bearing Q&As are one 
ot the delights of Sundance. Producers, direc- 
tors, stars, and crew are inevitably exhausted, 
ecstatic, nervous, and giddy, all of which can 
make for a Q&A session that is as interesting as 
the film itself. 

The Q&A after the 9 a.m. screening of Some 
Nudity Required actually replicated the dynam- 
ics of the film. The documentarv is a riveting 



I 



the tocus back to film's skilled makers, away 
from the insistent ego of the director who just 
wanted to be seen a "good guy." 

The Jim Thompson Hard-Boiled Dialogue 
Award 

Blood Guts Bullets and Octane 

For those out of the loop, Jim Thompson is a 
cult figure, a writer of extraordinary darkness 
and violence whom USA Today called "the 
Camus of crime." His books, including The 
Grifters, After Dark, M} Su>eet, and The 
Getaway, are populated by small-time crooks, 
big dreams, and dirty deeds — much like the 
low-budget Sacramento-based feature extrav- 
aganza Blood Guts Bullets and Octane, the first 
film to receive finishing funds from the Inde- 
pendent Film 



a 



." 



behind-the- 
scenes look at 
Roger 
C o r m a n ' s 
"erotic 
thriller" B- 
movie busi- 
ness, one 
built into a 
multi-mil- 
lion dollar 
industry. 
Producer/ 
director 

Odette Springer, 
Corman's music supervisor for over 5C films, 
takes viewers on a detailed, disturbing tour of 
the underbelly of L.A.'s film scene from a 
woman's point of view. Reports have it that 
Billy Bob Thornton aptly likened the film to 
watching a train wreck — simultaneously fasci- 
nating and repulsive; something you can't look 
away from. At the Q&A were Maria Ford, the 
strikingly beautiful, strikingly young star of 
many of the erotic movies and one of the cen- 
tral characters in Some Nudity Required; 
Springer's co-producer and editor; and one of 
Corman's directors who had been interviewed 
in the movie. Corman's director proceeded to 
live up (or down) to the impression he gave in 
the film, first trying to convince the audience 
that a sex and strangulation scene with Ford 
was about violence only, and not meant to be 
sexually titillating (a distinction lost on most of 
the audience). Then he virtually accused Ford 
of lying when she said she'd been bruised while 
filming that scene in their effort to make it 
more realistic. Eventually the audience brought 



«<N 



emof y. Court, 



«* First R U 



Channel's 
Next Wave 
Films. 
Reportedly 
shot for under 
$10,000, this 
film is proof 
that a time- 
worn concept 
can still yield a 
surprisingly 
enjoyable expe- 
rience. A cou 

pie of small-time, 
not-so-smart crooks get involved in a deal so 
convoluted they both get caught holding the 
bag — or in this case, the car. There are scenes 
with dialogue like bullets: so fast you don't 
know what hit you, but you find yourself laugh- 
ing anyway. Delicately balancing a dead-pan 
sense of humor with a plot so deranged that you 
almost believe it, this practically volunteer 




16 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



effort should jump-start the careers of all 
involved. It will soon he opening at theaters 
near you, as Lions Gate International picked 
up worldwide rights. 

Grooviest Chicks Award 

Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss 

Musicals are often judged by how well their 
songs advance the action. In the case of Billy's 
Hollywood Screen Kiss, the musical interludes 
don't even pretend to have anything to do 
with plot or character, hut we love them any- 
way, 'cause the drag queens are just so stellar! 
The film's multiculti cross-dressing trio is the 
best thing since Hullaballoo. They're com- 
pletely fetching in their sixties garb and glit- 
ter-spackled glasses, and the chubby leader 
lip-synchs to Petula Clarke with panache. A 
welcome addition to any party. Triniark 
Pictures thought so, too, picking up world- 
wide rights tor approximately $1 million. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Award 

The Official Sundance Trailer 

Ostensibly related to that mainstay of PBS, 
the how-to show, the tour trailers displayed an 
East/West influence that combines Zen con- 
cepts with Da Vinci-like drawings of inven- 
tions. But not many things can stand up to 
the amount ot exposure a festival trailer gets. 
By mid-week, How to Make a River (in which 
tour characters spit to create a thickly flowing 
rivulet) elicited groans ot disgust, but it was 
How to Make a Bird that inspired the most 
audience participation. When the feather- 
flecked nude turned to the camera, audiences 
gave it their all, retorting with a loud, raucous 
bird call. 

Best Giveaway 

Animals 

Hang up those baseball caps, for christ's 
sake! Give it a rest. There are enough closets 
stutted with unused customized caps. 
Instead, think Benevolence. Indie filmmak- 
ers excel at sniffing out tree food, so why not 
reciprocate when trying to garner good will 
and attention.' Animals did just that, handing 
out cute little boxes ot animal crackers. A 
life-saver at a festival notorious for offering 
no time to eat. Hopefully, it'll start a trend. 
Now all we need is a film titled Fifty Fig 
Neutons. 

Cara Mertes is a NY-based producer and writer and a 

frequent contributor to The Independent & Patricia 

Thomson is editor m chief of The Independent. 




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April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 17 



FIELD REPORTS 



I 



THE IMLLION MAN 



An acquisition deal at Sundance is every filmmaker's dream. So what's it like to get one — with 
Miramax, no less? Next Stop Wonderland director BRAD ANDERSON describes the surreality of it all. 



by Brad Anderson 

I'm staring at a ceiling in a Park City lodge. 

A white stucco ceiling with varnished 

wood beams. Voices around me are arguing 

about the wishes and desires of a certain 

"Brad": "Brad wants...," "Brad should 
have...," "We think Brad needs...." 

I am that Brad, laid flat out on my back on 
the floor of a luxurious suite at the Stein 
Erickson lodge, Sundance redoubt of Miramax 
Films, where I am experiencing for the first 
time the disconcerting sensation of listening to 
myself being talked about in the third person. I 
haven't eaten in 16 hours, ever since Harvey 
Weinstein came up to me after the first screen- 
ing of Next Stop Wonderland and graciously 
shook my hand, saying, "Loved your film." I 
was speechless, still recovering from having 
just been introduced to Dennis Hopper and 
Sally Field. The phrase, "You like me!" absent- 
ly crossed my mind. 

There's a small, round indentation up there 
in the stucco. Maybe a flying cork mark from 
some previously sealed Miramax acquisitions 
deal? I'll find out, since Miramax is currently in 
the process of buying my movie. Two lawyers, 
my producer, and several Miramax guys are 
hammering out the details of a deal memo that 
determines the fate of the movie and me: test 
screenings, release parameters, multi-picture 
language, and, of course, money. No cham- 
pagne is flowing quite yet. The only thing flow- 
ing is stress, from lack of food, sleep, and high 
altitude. 

But, hey, this is Sundance. . . 

Actually, I lied. When Harvey Weinstein 
shook my hand, I wasn't speechless. In fact, I 
audaciously asked him for a cigarette. He gave 
me his last, and maybe it was that little trans- 
action that set the deal in motion. 

I'd read about these harried deal negotia- 
tions before. I'd read about the thrill or it, the 




Hope Davis and Charlie Broderick in Next Stop Wonderland. 
Photo: Claire Folger, courtesy Robbins Entertainment 

excitement, the sense of validation. If it did 
happen, I was mentally (albeit not physically) 
prepared for whatever went down. I'd arranged 
for legal representation by the indefatigable 
John Sloss. My producer, Mitchell Robbins, and 
I had run through various best- and worst-case 
scenarios. Still, before today, the chance of get- 
ting a deal seemed like wishful thinking. So why 
am I now lying prostrate on the floor feeling. . . 
well. . . pensive? 

As I stare at the ceiling, and the "hereto- 
fores" and "whereins" flitter about me, I'm 
overwhelmed with a curious feeling. The only 
way I can describe it is saudade. This is a term 
used in Brazil to describe that country's music, 
much of which forms the lyrical score for Next 
Stop Wonderland. It describes a feeling of being 
simultaneously happy and sad. I am 
happy for the hundreds of 
people who labored to 
make this movie hap- 
pen; for my dedicated 
producer, Mitchell 
Robbins; for Mr. Lyn 
Vaus, the co -writer; 
for the Miramax 
folks; and for me. 
Yet I am pensive, 
too, maybe 

because I know 
scrutiny will now 
inevitably turn to 
the "money" and, at 
least temporarily, 
the film 



18 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 




itself will become a mere shadow. 

We've all seen it happen with other pick- 
up deals, particularly at this festival, which, 
despite its incredible dedication to indepen- 
dent "celluloid," is still much about the 
"sell." I'm not lamenting the sell, of course. 
Every filmmaker wants to sell his or her 
movie, get a distribution deal that will allow 
their film to be seen by the widest possible 
audience. Claiming otherwise puts you in the 
same league as those Japanese art collectors 
who bought all those famous paintings in the 
eighties only to lock them up in warehouses 
for no one to see. It's called show business, 
after all. 

It's also called show business. Maybe it's 
that obvious truth that has me flat out on my 
back, gazing wistfully into the white void of 
the stucco while a barrage of voices toss five, 
even six-figure sums around my whirling 
head. I try to recall a long-ago argument with 
my father about my rationale for pursuing a 
career in the art world instead of the corpo- 
rate world: "It's not about the money, Dad!" 
"Wait'll you grow up," was the sagacious 
response. 

POP! FIZZ! Two round indentations now. 
The weary, but smiling faces of Mitchell 
Robbins and John Sloss look down 
upon me. Everyone is battle 
fatigued, but alive. We sign 
the contract: $6,000,000 
for the film and a multi- 
picture deal. (If it were 
1974 we could build a 
bionic man!) We hold 
up our flutes of cham- 
pagne. We toast the film, 
our partnership, and the 
expectation of sleep. 

Next Stop Wonderland is Brad 

Anderson's second feature. His first 

film, The Darien Gap, played at the 

1996 Sundance Film Festival 

Director Brad Anderson Photo: Lauren Mansfield 




by Ruby Lerner 

For those hearty enough to tromp to i i ih 
top of Park City's steep Main Street, the 
rewards were many at this year's Slamdance 
Film Festival. As the festival tag-line boasts, 
this is a festival "by filmmakers for filmmak- 
ers." The camaraderie was palpable through- 
out the festival in the hustling video lounge, 
often packed with people sitting in armchairs 
and on sofas, watching videos, eating bagels, 
and just hanging out. 

The festival's irreverent personality 
emerged immediately. At the opening night 
festivities, all the filmmakers lined up in front 
of the crowd to introduce themselves, divulge 
production horror stories — and shoe sizes. 
Slamdance never takes itself too seriously, as 
evidenced by festival co-founder Dan 
Mirvish's daily doggerel recitations. 
Parodying Gil Scott Heron's "The Revolution 
Will Not Be Televised," he wrote for the fes- 
tival program: 

The Revolution will be shot for under $100,000. 
The Revolution will he filmed on 1 6mm black- 
and-white reversal stock. 
The Revolution wdl not have all its music rights 
cleared. 

The Revolution will use SAG actors, but they 
will have to change their names for the credits 
because 
The Revolution will not have a SAG contract. 

This cheeriness continued through the 
awards ceremony as Myles Berkowitz, winner 
of the Audience Award for 20 Dates, sponta- 
neously offered to donate to Slamdance 10 
percent of anything he might make on the 



vile of the film. It was also evident when a rep- 
resentative from Mr. Rawstock, prize-giver in 
the audience short category, spontaneously 
leapt onto the stage to assure the tying winners 
that they would both get prizes. 

But the frivolity didn't mask the festival's 
serious intent: Slamdance's primary commit- 
ment is to emerging makers who are working 
with limited budgets and have not yet found 
distribution. The festival's sensibility is quite 
different from that of Sundance; it's rougher, 
edgier, rawer. And the work is definitely geared 
toward a younger croud. 

These sensibilities were exemplified by some 
of the other award winners, including Scott 
Storm's violent Bum, executive produced by 
director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) and 
musician Adam Duritz (of Counting Crows), 
with intense performances by Randall Slavin 
and David Hayter; Surrender Dorothy, writ- 
ten/directed edited by/and starring Kevin Di 
Novis; the deadpan doc Goreville, U.S.A., a 
town that requires its heads of households to 
own a gun; and the delightful short Truly 
Committed, among others. Special screenings 
out of competition included Canadian Gary 
Burns's Kitchen Party, (also seen at Toronto and 
Rotterdam), a comic look at a Friday night sub- 
urban teen party, savagely juxtaposed with an 
adult dinner party going on at the same time, 
with the adults' behavior no better than the 
teens'. Trey Parker of South Park fame showed 
up to introduce his so-awful-it's-great Cannibal: 
The Musical. The film is based on the true story 
of the only person convicted of cannibalism in 
America. Think Sound of Music meets The 
Donner Party. Other special screenings were 
Matthew Barney's Cremaster 5; Mandragora, a 



wrenching Czech film dealing with male prosti- 
tution in Prague; and the quirky closing-night 
film, Olympia, with a strong (physically and 
mentally) female protagonist. 

Highlights of the video lounge program were 
Naked Pavement, a humorous documentary 
about New York photographer Spencer Tunick, 
whose photo shoots consist of gathering his 
subjects in interesting urban locations, arrang- 
ing them, then getting them to disrobe; and 
Marina Zenovich's Independent's Da}, a wry 
look at the current indie film scene. 

But the greatest joy of either Slamdance or 
Sundance was Lance Mungia's Six-String 
Samurai, absolutely the best postmodern, post 
apocalyptic, Hong Kong action, klezmer rock 
'n' roll movie ever made. Where were the 
acquisitions executives. 7 In this endlessly inven- 
tive film, the Sa-Strrng Samurai is Buddy (with 
actor Jeff Falcon looking remarkably like Buddy 
Holly), who must battle his way to Lost Vegas 
to take over Elvis's crown. With the classic 
heroic journey as its underlying structure and a 
sweet relationship between Buddy and a young 
boy (the affecting Justin McGuire) who 
becomes his 
traveling com- 
panion, this 
clever film is a 
visual tour de 
force thanks to 
DP Kristian 
Bernier. The 
remarkable 
Jeffrey Falcon 
(co-writer and 
star) has been in 
more than 20 



Slamdance 
seems to 
have come 
of age this 
year. 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 19 



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Hong Kong martial arts pictures, and has lived 
and worked in Asia for over a dozen years. 
When he wasn't acting or choreographing the 
balletic fight scenes, he was supervising the pro- 
duction and costume design. The music by the 
Red Elvises, who describe themselves as the 
highest-paid wedding band in the Kamchatka 
Peninsula, only adds to the movie's gleeful exu- 
berance. 

Slamdance seems to have come of age this 
year. Even Sundance toned down its anti- 
Slamdance rhetoric, and that's appropriate. 
Slamdance is turning out to be like the fringe 
events at major performance festivals like 
Edinburgh and Spoleto. 

Could Slamdance thrive on its own, in some 
other place, at some other time of year? It's 
doubtful. Without Sundance, it would become 
just another festival. And doesn't every town 
with a population of more than 200 have a film 
festival now? 

While clearly Slamdance needs Sundance, 
in at least some respects the reverse is also true: 
Slamdance takes some of the pressure off 
Sundance to be all things to all people — clear- 
ly an impossible task. 

Toward the end of the festival, Slamdance 
executive director Peter Baxter was talking 
informally with a group of participating film- 
makers, asking them for advice about how to 
make the festival better in the future. This gen- 
uine openness is a critical part of what makes 
the festival so appealing — to both artists and 
audiences. The challenge for Slamdance as it 
strives to become a Park City institution every 
January is how to retain its iconoclastic spirit 
and filmmaker-centeredness as it inevitably 
grows and matures. 

Ruby Lemer is publisher of The Independent and 
executive 1 director of the Association oj Independent 

Video iiiiJ Fdmviiikcrs 



20 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 




FIELD REPORTS 



I 



AN IFFCON '98 DIARY 



by Robert M . 
Goodman 

November. The page coming out of my fax 

machine reads: "Congratulations! You and 
your project Gifts in the Mail have been 
accepted into IFFCON '98, the fifth annual 
International Film Financing Conference." 
Making the cut is a big morale boost. The 
selection committee boasts heavy hitters: 
Good Machine, HBO, New Line, Miramax, 
and Dreamworks, among others. 

More importantly, IFFCON matches pro- 
ducers with buyers, and Patrick McGrath and 
1 need money for our feature-length docu- 
mentary about the 100-year history of the 
American Picture Postcard. My initial elation 
is dampened when I realize I'll be spending 
$450 in registration tees and $1,200 in 
expenses for a three -day weekend confer- 
ence. Elation wins out, and I hook my flight 
and hotel tor January 9-11, in San Francisco. 

December. Anxious tor more information, 
I call IFFCON's conference manager, Rose 
Hlaing. She tells me 300 people applied tor 
the 60 slots. Forty were reserved tor narrative 
projects and 20 tor documentaries. The doc- 
umentary category was extremely competi- 
tive. She also explains that there will be pan- 
els, roundtable meetings, and private meet- 
ings with buyers. Yet, I still have no feel tor 
what it will be like in person. 

January 6. I update our information kits. 
Pat makes dubs of the trailer for Gifts in the 
Mail. Producers are allowed to place two sam- 
ples in a video library for the buyers. Along 
with the trailer, we decide to use another doc- 
umentary that resonates with the tone we're 
aiming for in the new film. 

January 8. I'm up before dawn, to catch 
the 6:20 a.m. flight from Philadelphia to San 
Francisco. The flight gives me time to think. 
My goal is to find someone to fund our pro- 




je< i Making contacts is important, but we need 
money. 1 an ive at my hotel on Knob Hill around 
noon. San Francisco is gray and overcast. I 
unpack and realize I didn't bring an umbrella. 

I'm wired, so 1 spend the afternoon walking. 
Then I catch dinner and a bus to attend Hong 
Kong director Stanley Kwan's film, The Actress, 
part ot IFFCON's newest event, Partnering 
with Hong Kong, which is being held concur- 
rently with the conference. I want to stay tor 
the discussion, but by now I've been up for 2 1 
hours. Sleep beckons. 

January 9. The conference begins at the 
Verba Buena Center tor the Arts, an easy walk 
from the hotel. The weather looks threatening, 
but my luck holds. Unlike most other IFFCON 
events, some ot Friday's panel discussions are 
open to the public, and I find throngs ot people 
on hand when I arrive at 9:30. Simultaneous 
events on the second floor are tor "producers" 
and "buyers" only, and I go upstairs. 

The smaller second-floor lobby is packed 
with producers registering or sampling the 
breakfast spread. I get my badge and conference 
materials: a wire-bound book with one-page 
descriptions of the projects listed in alphabeti- 



cal order by producer; a 10-page directory of 
the buyers at IFFCON; and various promotion- 
al materials from conference sponsors. 

A lottery determines yvhen producers can 
sign up tor the roundtables and private meet- 
ings. My pick places me in the second group to 
register. I don't consider it significant. I get 
some coffee and start schmoozing with other 
producers. 

At 10:30 we enter the small auditorium for 
our orientation session. Wendy Braitman, 
IFFCON's executive director, explains confer- 
ence procedures. We can attend the open pan- 
els downstairs, or the panels in this auditorium, 
which are restricted to producers. The Friday 
afternoon panels are all open sessions. She also 
explains the sign-up procedure for roundtables, 
and tor the single private meeting granted to 
each producer. Saturday and Sunday's events 
will be at KQED and are for producers only. 

I review the list of industry buyers, and note 
those interested in documentaries. Anyone I've 
talked to before, I cross off. I had wanted to 
speak to Claus Josten, from Arte, but he is ill 
and has canceled. That leaves only two names 
on my list: Jacqui Lawrence, from the UK's 
Channel Four Television; and Krysanne 
Katsoolis, from Fox/Lorber. And Lawrence is 
the only European commissioning editor out of 
the entire list of attending TV reps. I'm discon- 
certed. 

We stay in the auditorium for the first panel, 
a discussion of co-production and co-financing. 
Like most panels, it's loosely focused. The next 
scheduled panel is a case history of a high-pro- 
file feature, so I head downstairs for the panel 
on television financing. I'm unprepared for the 
huge crowd. I glean some facts — ITVS will 
fund one -hour dramas up to $300,000; every 
country has different, complicated rules; 
European coproduction deals are easier to 
obtain if you have a commitment from a U.S. 
broadcaster — and I watch it rain outside. 
When we break for a catered box lunch, I'm 
glad to be indoors. 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 21 






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Now it's time to sign up for roundtables and 
private meetings. I join the others who are 
waiting for the first group of 20 to finish. By the 
time I finally get to register, one of the few doc- 
umentary roundtables and all of the private 
meetings with Channel Four are filled. I'm 
depressed. I sign up for a private meeting with 
Fox/Lorher. 

Rose Hlaing, the conference manager, 
notices the long faces on those of us who were 
shut out and comes to the rescue. She makes a 
list of buyers we wish to meet and promises to 
make these meetings happen. 

In the lobby, producer Catherine Crouch 
asks if I would consent to be interviewed for 
Split Screen, John Pierson's cable show on the 
Independent Film Channel about independent 
filmmaking. She introduces me to Yvonne 
J Welbon, another producer, who is doing the 
segment on IFFCON. Yvonne wants to feature 
Gifts and several other projects. My spirits rise. 

I go back downstairs for the first panel of the 
afternoon. "Pitch Perfect" provides tips and 
tricks, plus an opportunity for audience mem- 
bers to pitch to panelists. Their advice: pitch in 
a team, so you can brag about each other's cre- 
dentials and put on a good show. People line up 
at the microphones to pitch. It's entertaining, 
though I get annoyed when several IFFCON 
producers pitch their projects. This opportuni- 
ty should be for those who didn't get accepted. 

Rose finds me in the auditorium with news 
that she's arranged a private meeting for me 
with Jacqui Lawrence of Channel Four. I meet 
with Lawrence for 15 minutes. I learn a lot 
about Channel Four's programming needs — 
information I wish I'd had prior to IFFCON. 
Gifts is too mainstream for her, but she's help- 
ful. We discuss another project. Lawrence sug- 
gests someone to contact. Channel Four is off 
my list for Gifts. However, I won't be just anoth- 
er voice on the telephone the next time I pitch 
a project to her. 



I do my Split Screen 
interview. The last 
panel ends and a net- 
working reception 
begins. When the party 
winds down, I hop a 
ride on the buyer's 
shuttle van to my 
hotel. I wish there was 
transportation for pro- 
ducers. 

January 10. 1 have cof- 
fee in the hotel and 
spot a fellow producer. 
We share a cab to 
KQED. Today, the atmosphere is completely 
different. No crowds — just 60 of us and 
about a hundred industry people. Our day 
begins with breakfast in the atrium outside 
KQED's studio. Producers and buyers sit 
together, talk, and eat. 

I'm still in time-zone hell, not awake, 
drinking my second cup of coffee when 
Krysanne Katsoolis from Fox/Lorber happens 
to sit down next to me. I introduce myself 
and we discuss Gifts for about 20 minutes 
over coffee. This is priceless access. I'm psy- 
ched. 

Now, it's clear to me what IFFCON does 
best — create a relaxed atmosphere for pro- 
ducers and buyers to meet. I tell Rose I don't 
need my private meeting time with 
Fox/Lorber. Wendy's staff and volunteers 
appear omnipresent. It's as if there were one 
volunteer for every producer. The staff is gra- 
cious and attentive. Most of the volunteers 
are charming, though a few seem too focused 
on IFFCON's hierarchy. Buyers are Gods. 
Producers are a little lower than the angels. 
Sponsors are in limbo. I feel pampered. 

A panel session launches the formal 
events of the day, followed by a series of 
roundtables. These small group meetings put 
one or two executives together with eight to 
10 producers to focus on a single topic. We 
break for lunch. I meet more people and 
enjoy myself, despite the weather. At five, we 
head for a reception at the "hippest club" in 
town, the Backflip. Afterwards, four of us 
have dinner together. 

January 1 1 . I discover other producers 
staying at my hotel. We walk together to the 
first event, brunch at a restaurant. It's a pro- 
ducers' and buyers' schmooze fest. Brunch 
ends at 11:30, just as the torrential rains 
arrive. IFFCON ferries everyone to KQED. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



The schedule for the afternoon is more round- 
tables and private meetings. I look at my 
schedule and notice that someone has 
requested a private meeting with me. 

Apparently, our project's description has 
sparked an interest from a theatrical distribu- 
tor. I'm curious, because his company doesn't 
do documentaries. We meet. I pitch. He wants 
to fund Gifts for theatrical release. I promise to 
send him a treatment and exit on cloud nine. 

The conference is nearly over. I pick up my 
tapes from the library. No one looked at them. 
IFFCON's ad hoc transportation system 
moves everyone to the San Francisco Art 
Museum for a screening of Mabel Cheung 
Yuen-Ting's new film, The Soong Sisters. A 
catered reception afterwards wraps up IFF- 
CON '98. 

My trip was a success, though I don't have 
a check in hand. I made good contacts, 
launched some friendships, and strengthened 
a few acquaintanceships. Gifts will get expo- 
sure on Split Screen. A theatrical distributor is 
waiting for a treatment. At home, I thorough- 
ly read all of the project descriptions and bios. 
I was in amazing company. 

I surveyed other producers for this article; 
no one has cut a deal. The major theatrical 
buyers of independent films were well-repre- 
sented; U.S. broadcast and cable industry 
buyers were scarce. Where were PBS, A&E, 
Discovery, Turner, and a long list of others? 

During the conference, I spoke to Wouter 
Barendrecht, Director of Rotterdam's 
CineMart — the model for IFFCON — about 
the differences between the two conferences. 
CineMart selects producers from around the 
world, runs no panels or roundtables, and 
arranges all of the meetings between buyers 
and producers before the start of the confer- 
ence. Yet, Wouter felt, "We share the same 
sense of intimacy and offer the chance to see 
people in formal and informal settings. This is 
so important, because our business is extreme- 
ly relationship driven." 

Next time, I'll travel light. The atmosphere 
was casual. Everyone wants materials sent, so 
I'll leave them home. I won't bother with the 
video library; no one comes to watch tapes. 
People are here to meet you, break bread with 
you, and develop relationships. IFFCON was 
worth the trip, but bring an umbrella. 

Robert Goodman, an award-winning writer and 

Emmy-nominated director based in Philadelphia, is 

currently producing Gifts in the Mail, a feature-length 

documentary about the American Picture Postcard, 

and developing a project called Dungeon Queens. 



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April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 23 



FIELD REPORTS 



I 



SHORTS IN STYLE 



New York's Shorts International Film Festival Debuts with Aplomb 



by Cassandra 
U ret z 

The idea was good: Open a shorts festival 
with an hour-long tribute to the history of 
short film, beginning with Fernand Leger's Le 
Ballet Miamique. But after a restless audience 
sat through the reel of alternately musty and 
inspiring films, grumbling like cinema studies 
freshmen, Lisa Walborsky, co-founder and 
director of New York's debuting Shorts 
International Film Festival, sighed, "That was 
an education for all of us. It was more . . . exper- 
imeiual than I realized it would be." The alarm 
that Shirley Clarke's 1958 masterpiece Bridges- 
Go-Round, Stan Brakhage's 1963 Mothlight, 
Maya Deren's 1943 Meshes of the Afternoon, 
and other classic shorts drew from this sophis- 
ticated, black-clad pack bared the festival's 
argument to plain view. Why is the illustrious 
short film tradition, still dear to so many film- 
makers, so foreign to American viewers? 

No one can deny that in recent years shorts 
have been decried as industry calling cards, 
made to demonstrate technical or directorial 
skills but with little chance ot drawing a sizable 
audience. And so a festival like this, one that 
gives a classy, respectable showcase to shorts as 
an artform, leaves many filmmakers and their 
fans eternally grateful. 

Jessica Yu, whose Academy Award-winning 
short Breathing Lessoiis: The Life and Work of 
Mark O'Brien took the festival's award for Best 
Documentary, thanked co-founders Walborsky 
and Jeremiah Newton "for recognizing shorts, 
not just as stepping stones to feature films, but 
as vital works in their own right." In an accep- 
tance letter that Yu, already wrapped up in her 
next project, sent to the festival jury, she 
voiced the frustration many ot her colleagues 
feel at shorts' second-class status. "Most of the 
filmmakers in this festival have been asked, 
'So, do you eventually want to make real films'' 
But a good film is a good film, and some of the 
best are shorts, because the genre allows tor the 




kind of exploration and innovation so lacking 
in much of today's commercial films." 

Unlike many shorts festivals, which have a 
scruffy, seat-of-the-pants tenor to them, this 
new event, held November 4 to 6, was remark- 
able for its upscale veneer. With sponsorship 
from ubiquitous sources such as Absolut Vodka, 
Toumeau, and Perry Ellis, the event opened at 
Sony's flagship theater in New York, the Sony- 
Lincoln Square Theater. 

Walborsky, a former program coordinator for 
the First Look independent film series at the 
Tribeca Film Center, pitched the idea for the 
festival late one night to friends sitting around 
her kitchen table. She then saw the project to 
completion in nine short months, a feat which 
became the stuff of legend among her fellow 
organizers. Together with Newton, an industry- 
liaison for New York University's Tisch School 
of the Arts, Walborsky assembled leading 
artists, businessmen, educators, and advertisers 
for a three-day feast of screenings, panels, and 
parties. The festival's 51 short films, culled 
from more than 700, played to large evening 
crowds, forcing audience members to sit in 
Sony's plush red aisles for sold-out shows. 
Comedy, animation, and student works pulled 
in the most viewers, although the drama, docu- 
mentary, and experimental categories drew 
their tair share. 

That this first effort succeeded so quickly in 
attracting support, not to mention an audience, 



is largely due to what 
many called Walborsky 's 
visionary zeal. Snagging 
the Sony multiplex was a 
case of this kind of fervor 
being mixed with good 
business behavior. When 
Walborsky contacted 
Sony, the local manage- 
ment was seeking to pro- 
mote itself as an exhibi- 
tion space. However, festi- 
vals evoked their suspi- 
cion. "We've done one 
festival here before, which did pretty dismal- 
ly," says Michael Rucker, Sony's Director of 



n Michael Sporn's animated 

award winner Champagne, a 

teenager copes with 

lite after her mother is jailed. 

All photos courtsey filmmakers 



A malign doppelganger 
lures a businessman from 
routine in Christophe Van 
Rompaey's Grijs. 



I 




Special Events. But Sony also has an eye to 
the independent film market, and responded 
to Walborsky's corporate background. 
"Instead of coming in and taking over," says 
Rucker, "they not only listened to our sugges- 
tions, but acted on them." He adds, "One ot 
the biggest factors in the success ot the festi- 
val is that the relationship between them and 



24 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



us was really strong." 

The festival also 
served as a summit 
between filmmakers and 
representatives of the 
new communications 
order seeking to con- 
tribute and profit from 
the reserves of short films 
seeking exhibition. In a 
panel on short film's 
place in American cine- 
ma, former Merrill Lynch 
partner Ninan Kurien 
displayed his Short Cinema Journal, a film 
magazine developed for Digital Versatile Disc 
(DVD) technology. DVD, a 24-speed CD- 
ROM that plays broadcast- quality video, is 
still new to the American consumer, but 
augurs a vast potential audience tor repack- 
aged media. In addition to showing work by 
well-known artists like Henry Rollins and 
Billy Bob Thornton, Kurien's journal pre- 
sents student projects, human rights docu- 
mentaries, animation, and interviews with 
various Hollywood types. "This format will 
allow hundreds and hundreds of filmmakers 
to participate," says Kurien, sounding like an 





indie Carl Sagan. 

Television also loomed large as an alterna- 
tive exhibition venue to theaters. Bingham 
Ray, co-president of October Films, admitted 
that nascent film distribution companies 
embrace shorts as a stepping stone to acquir- 
ing features. "In 1992 we put a package of 
shorts together and . . . distributed it theatri- 



cally," says Ray. "In the early days, we didn't 
have a lot of capitalization and we didn't have 
a reputation yet, so we really had to cobble 
things together and try to make them work. We 
gave it a try, and it was fun . . . [but] we can't 
make a living doing it." 

Semaphore Entertainment's Campbell 
MacLaren, who produced the Lifetime 
Television Women's Film Festival, agreed with 
Ray, noting that shorts are ideal for television. 
"I feel like a heretic, but when I look at short 
films. . . it's tough to find the business in it. A 
half-hour is a very regular part of television, so 
short films aren't really short. . . A lot of them 
seem to tall into 25 minutes, and that's long 
enough to tell your story and get your point 
across and establish character, but yet it's short 
enough that you can afford postpioduction on 
your mom and dad's money." MacLaren has 
done three profitable shows tor Lifetime, pre- 
senting work by film community notables like 
Kasi Lemtnons, Adnenne Shelley, and Anne 
DeSalvo. 

Despite their uncertain future, shorts have 
generated enough enthusiasm to make next 
year's festival a reality. Walborsky expressed 
relief at having a whole year to prepare and 
excitement at canvassing for new material. Her 
first festival website drew two inquiries from 
mainland China, and she expects to reach still 
further afield with the industry connections she 
made this time around. "We had to prove our- 
selves, and we did," she says. Programming 
board member Richard Dooley seconded her 
enthusiasm. "It happened because of sheer 
force of will. You have these little, short films 
competing against all of the big Hollywood 
powers, and I think it's a wonderful opportuni- 
ty to see them." 

Cassandra Uretz is editorial assistant at The 
Independent. 



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April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 25 




Barbara Kopple's production office is light, airy, and teeming wrra 
activity. Fresh young staffers hustle down the hallway lined with edit- 
ing suites and walk briskly past the potted plants and shelves laden 
with footage from Kopple's 19 major projects, oblivious to the sweep- 
ing view of Soho sprawling below their tenth-story suite. 

Inside the entryway is a large photograph by Richard Avedon. 
Staring at the camera are three of the elder statesmen of cinema verite: 
Albert Maysles, Frederick Wiseman, and D.A. Pennebaker. At their 
side is Barbara Kopple, who helped carry the torch into the next gen- 
eration. She took the tenets of verite, absorbed when working for the 



Maysles brothers just out of college, and injected a measure of sixties' 
passion for social justice. As a filmmaker, she took her time, staying in 
the field and living with her subjects for long stretches, sometimes over 
a period of years. Out of this stamina and passion came such power- 
house films as Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976) and American Dream 
(1990), both Academy Award winners that delve deeply into heated 
labor disputes. 

Now age 45, Kopple has managed the feat of making a living as a 
documentary filmmaker for over two decades. She has done so by jug- 
gling her personal projects with an array of commissioned films. Turner 



26 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



Broadcasting, HBO, ABC, NBC, and the President's Summit for 
America's Future are among those who have sought her out. One rea- 
son, perhaps, is that Kopple never treats these commissions as lesser 
jobs; some, like her biography of boxer Mike Tyson, Fallen Clxamp: The 
Untold Story of Mike Tyson, can be considered among her best work. 

Kopple's latest film, Wildman Blues, was one such job — a commis- 
sioned project that Fine Line Features subsequently acquired and is 
releasing this month. The film tracks Woody Allen on his first-ever 
concert tour with his Dixieland jazz ensemble and shows the aging 
director and clarinetist in all his disheveled glory: at times funny and 
engaging, at other times paranoid, remote, and never able to live in the 
moment. 

On one December morning, Kopple sat down with The Independent 
to discuss her latest projects and her long-term survival as an indepen- 
dent documentary maker. 

What was the occasion of the Avedon photo? 

It was for New Yorker magazine. They were doing a big film issue in 
1994 or '95. Of course, they had everyone in there, and Avedon said, 
"I'm not going to continue unless there's a little piece on the docu- 
mentarians." So he called Pennebaker, Al Maysles, Wiseman, and 
myself and said, "Would you be photographed?" We said, "Are you kid- 
ding.' We'd be thrilled and honored." 

It was so funny, because we got there and we're all pretty jovial. 
We're laughing and really having a good time. He was taking all these 
photos, then said, "Okay, all of you, just for one split second, think of 
the worst thing that could ever happen to you." That's when he took 
it. [Laughs] Anyway, I love it. It's a treasure picture. 

You're in very good company. 

Penny and Al are my mentors. When I came creeping in, they were 
already established. So for me to be in a photo u ith them was wonder- 
ful. 

Let's discuss your longevity as an independent documentarian. Al Maysles 
makes commercials; Wiseman has some kind of long-term contract with PBS. 
How do you survive? 

I do everything. I do the films that I love and films tor other people. 
This year I've done three commercials. But they're fun and they're 
easy. And I do specials for network television. I do it all. If somebody 
asks me to do something, generally, if I can, I say yes. 

This place is very impressive. How many people do you have working for you? 
It changes from project to project. People come and work with you, 
and there are a couple who just stay. If I have a big project, then new 
people come on for that. It's always sad saying goodbye, because you've 
found people you work with so well, and you really want to keep them 
here, but you can't. 

Right now it looks like you have half a dozen people or so. 

Yeah, we're finishing a piece for Lifetime about women and human 
rights. It's a really incredible project. We went to Sarajevo, Pakistan, 
Egypt, and here in the United States. We're waiting today to do our 
last recording to send over the tape. Hopefully they'll like it. 

Do you have staff whose job it is to beat the bushes and raise money for your 
personal projects and/or look for commissions? Or do these walk in the door? 
A lot of times they walk in the door. I guess all the time. We've never 
gone and hunted projects. 

At what point did that start happening? 



Well, all along my career. Because not only do I produce and direct, but 
I also do sound and editing. 

For commercial projects as well as for other filmmakers? 

Both. I just worked in this craft in every single field I possibly could. It 
was good for me, because nobody could tell me that something could- 
n't be done. For example, I did a commercial just now for the AFL-CIO 
in San Antonio on a bilingual teacher and her class. She came from 
impoverished means, and struggled and worked to become a teacher. It 
was a plea to her kids that they can make it, too, and how the union 
has helped her. For the sound, the way I work is I would put a wireless 
mike on her and then boom the kids. And [the sound man] was telling 
me, "You can't do that." I said, "Listen, I know that you know what 
you're doing. But I've done sound for 15 years. This is how I would do 
it. This is how I would like you to do it, please." 

Does "please" help? 

Oh, I always say please. But it just helps to know what can be done, so 

that somebody can't tell you that something can't be done. 

So how many projects are you juggling right now, for instance? 
I'm working on Woodstock, it's really come together as a film; we need 
money to finish it, desperately. I'm finishing Lifetime. I'm going to do 
my second Homicide. And I'm going to be directing a feature film in the 
spring, so we're working on the script. And I'm hoping to develop some 
other projects in the interim. 

You've directed fiction before, correct? 

Yes, I've directed tor Turner, which was really wonderful: Century of 
Women. The new one is called Joe Glory. It's something I've wanted to 
do for a long time. The producer is a man I adore named Stanley 
Buchthal, who helped get Hairspray done. It takes place in 1949 in a 
small town in upstate New York, Peekskill, where the Robeson riots 
took place in 1949. It's a love story set against a political backdrop. It's 
the story of a young World War Two vet returning home to find all the 
things he fought against in the war happening in his own hometown, 
and the decisions he has to make. 

Is this based on a book? 

No, it's an original story that came from myself and a man named Al 
Slope. 

Where's the financing coming from? 

From independent studios, independent companies. The financing is 
of course not in place as we speak, but we haven't shown the script to 
anybody. We do have people calling and asking for it, but we're not 
doing it until it's perfect. It's almost there. 

Are you nervous at all about making the switch to fiction? 
Oh, no! Are you kidding.' Doing Homicide was the most fun I've ever 
had. [See sidebar, p. 31] Working with actors is so great. 
Documentaries are so hard. They're like cerebral puzzles. They take 
forever, and you have to just trust fate and trust life that things are 
going to happen. Fiction is easy, because you can allow your fantasies 
to come into play. 

So much of your first Homicide dealt with the resistance documentary subjects 
have after the fact, particularly when they think they might be presented in an 
unflattering light. How involved were you in this script? 

The script was already written, but in this case, they let me look at it, 
and you're allowed to make changes. But they had wanted to work 
with me for a long time. The time was right. They knew they had to do 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 27 




fail. But what you're trying to 
do is really get something out 
there to communicate. That's 
so valid and incredible. 

I have people call me all the 
time about wanting to do doc- 
umentaries. In fact, some 
young woman is coming today 
to talk about whether she 
should get into documentary. 
After I talk with them for a lit- 
tle bit, if you feel a spark, feel 
that passion, it's so great to 
encourage them, because you 
never know what's going to 
happen. 

Do you do a lot of this mentoring? 
You have the time? 

I make the time. I also taught 
once a week — graduate stu- 
dents at NYU 

Getting back to documentary style: 
How much of it is determined by 
the content, by the story you're try- 
ing to tell, and how much of it is 
determined by the nature of the 
commission, if that applies? Let's 
look at, say, American Dream, the 



something with documentary, and it just a 
worked out. 

You've said that you're not a documentary purist, 
and your work does demonstrate a range of 
approaches. Have you ever been tempted by the 
personal diary form? 
No. It's never tempted me. 

What do you think of it? 

Whatever connects people and whatever people 
want to do — the visions they have — is all wonderful. Personal diaries 
are really good because you can really get in deep, and see and feel 
things. Somebody's giving something to an audience with all the pas- 
sion they can, really giving over of themselves. I think it's wonderful. 

The great thing about film and documentary in particular is there 
are no holds barred. You can do whatever you want. It's whatever your 
feelings are, whatever your vision is. There are no rules. If you fail, you 



M ike 

Tyson film, and the Woody Allen film, which are 

all quite different in form and done under different circumstances. How did you 

arrive at your stylistic choice in each of these cases? What were the factors 

influencing you? 

American Dream took quite a few years to make — four years. I had to 

struggle within an inch of my life to do it, but it was a film where I 

could just go and stay and film whatever I telt was important, and 



28 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



relate to the people in the way that I wanted to relate to them, and 
them to me. I was all on my own, and nobody cared what happened to 
[the film], or even thought that it would ever amount to anything. It 
was the kind of thing that you do when you're in the field and you get 
sort of lonely out there, and people are shocked when you finally bring 
back whatever this entity' is. That's the hardest kind of film to make. 
And now, with the cuts in funding to the National Endowment for the 
Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York 
State Council on the Arts — it's very difficult to even think of doing a 
film like this. 

What did those public agencies give American Dream? 

I got a lot of my money from them. A lot of other places, too — church- 
es, wherever we could muster it up. But my initial money came from 
the NEH. If I hadn't gotten it, I don't know how I would have even 
started it. It's terrifying to think that filmmakers like me and the gen- 
erations that follow will 
not be able to do the 
kinds of films they really 
want to do, not without 
this kind of funding. 
What it allows you to do 
is to take risks and not do 
something that's just 
mediocre. To really go out 
there and give it every- 
thing that you have, and 
spend time. 

Mike Tyson, doing that 
was a gift. It was a very 
solid, good budget: $2.1- 
million. 

And what did American 

Dream end up costing? 

I don't know. I don't think 

the numbers exist. Most of it was the love of the people who were 

working on it. 

Fallen Champ was an NBC Movie of the Week? 

It was actually Columbia Tri-Star television division, with NBC. It was 

their first nontiction film that became a Movie of the Week. 

First and last? Have they done any since then? 

I don't think they have. 

I remember how exciting it was when it happened with NBC. It seemed like a big 
door was opening. 

Actually, it would have been. The next Him I wanted to do was a film 
on Bill Graham. I was given the research money, then there was a 
shake-up within NBC. The new people that came in wouldn't hear of 
it. 

But that was pretty wonderful, doing that film. I could do whatever 
I wanted. Since it wasn't in a news department, it was a Movie of the 
Week category, nobody knew quite how to deal with me, so they just 
left me alone. They'd say, "Can we see dailies?" I'd say, "Of course, but 
that doesn't mean you're going to know how I'm going to put it togeth- 
er." They said, "Well, what should we do. 7 " And I said, "Why don't you 
let me go out there and film, and when I get a rough cut together, you 
can see it." So they said "Fine." 




Did you have an assignment, like, "This is a biography"? 

No, I wrote the treatment. They gave us money to develop the treat- 
ment. 

How did you decide that you'd be doing extensive interviews and using archival 
footage, as opposed to, say, taking a verite approach? 

Well, Tyson was in jail by then. Right at the very beginning, during the 
research, I knew the one thing that stands in all the work I do is a sense 
of intimacy and a sense of showing somebody something they haven't 
seen before. Those are the two things that are absolutes in whatever I 
try to do. 

We found some footage taken when Mike Tyson was 12 years old by 
a German cameraman named Michael Martin. He was filming some- 
thing else for German TV [about] this young white kid whose dream 
it was to become a boxer, but he was also filming stories of all the peo- 
ple at [boxing coach] Cus D'Amato's at that particular time, one of 

them being Mike Tyson. I 
figured, "Oh my good- 
ness, this was so long ago; 
how am I ever going to 
find this guy.'" We hired 
an investigator. He found 
Michael Martin for us. I 
wrote Michael, we met, 
and I paid him for all his 
footage. I knew I had a 
gold mine in having 
something that was inti- 
mate; something that was 
as if you were following 
Mike Tyson on his jour- 
ney of life and seeing a 
side of him you didn't 
know, which was the vul- 
nerable side, the fragile 
side, the side that wanted to please, that worked hard. 

It's a fascinating portrait. Now, Wildman Blues is such a different kind of film — 
a verite- style road movie. Would you possibly have been interested in doing 
something on Woody Allen that was a similarly in-depth biographical portrait? 
Allen is just as complex and just as controversial a personality as Tyson. 

I think I did, in a different way. What was wonderful was we were on 
a road trip, and that meant nothing would be predetermined, except 
that he would play venues in different cities. But even that — different 
cities, different people, different problems, different situations, differ- 
ent everything. 

So it's not as if someone says, oh, Woody Allen, you're going to do 
a film about his directing, about his writing, about his acting. This was 
something totally different, something that nobody knew about. That 
was one of my criteria. It's playing jazz; being on the road with Soon-Yi 
Previn; being on the road with Letty Aaronson, his sister, and all the 
people who are closest to him, who I guess he loves most in the world. 
Out of his domain of New York City into strange places. I couldn't have 
asked for anything better. It was hard, grueling work: 16, 18-hour days. 
We were half-dead all the time. It was wonderful. 

What was the genesis of the project, and what parameters for access were set 
up? 

A theater producer named Jim Stern called me from Chicago. He said, 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 29 



"How would you like to go on a tour with Woody Allen.'" I went, 
"Yeah, right." He said, "No, really. He's going away tor l 7 ! day-., 18 dif- 
ferent European cities, on a jazz tour." Letry, his sister, called me. I went 
o\er, and Woody and 1 talked about film, about a magician that we 
both knew, and things in general. At the end o( the conyersation, I 
said, "So, Woody, are you looking forward to doing this?" And he said, 
"1 don't want to go." "What do you mean, you don't want to go?" He 
said. "I just thought it was going to be a few cities. This is just ridicu- 
lous. I don't want to be away tor this long. I just don't want to go. They 
booked a year or two ago; I didn't think the time would come this 
quickly." 

From that minute, I knew that it was going to be pretty special. I had 
no holds barred. Total access. I travelled everywhere and did whatever 
I wanted. 

What's Jim Stern's relationship to Woody Allen? 

He knows Woody Allen's producer, a woman named Jean Doumanian. 
He was talking to Jean and said, "You know, you'd be crazy not to film 
the tour." She said, "Oh, no. It'd probably be nothing but a home 
movie." He said, "I think you should," and that's all I know about that. 

Did they have to pull Woody 
Allen kicking and screaming 
into this project — into being 
filmed? He's reputedly a very 
private man. 

No. He was kicking and 
screaming about the tour, 
not about me. Maybe he 
did when I wasn't there, 
but not in front of me. 

Did he know your work? 
Yes. He had seen Harlan 
County. He had seen 
Mike Tyson; he's a big 
sports fan. 

Were you able to talk about 

filmmaking? 

A little bit. 

Did you give him any advice on using the handheld camera? 
No, no. It's funny. Woody doesn't do that with people. You don't get 
into giving each other advice. If you ask him something, he will answer 
it. You and I can go off in a million different directions. But with him, 
it's a little bit more formal. He has so many things inside that are hap- 
pening. He's more fragile on the outside, as to how to communicate 
with people, in a certain way. He's like a man of steel, or seven feet tall 
on the inside, where his thoughts, his writing, and his ideas are all 
imploding. 

In watching Wildman Blues, I always felt that even in the scenes with his lover 
and sister and producer — the people closest to him — he still seemed con- 
strained and on guard. 

I didn't think that. I thought he just laid it out. Like the scene in the 
Bologna hotel, when all those people are standing around outside and 
he goes to the curtain, looks out. Lenny and Soon-Yi are saying, "You 
have to go say hello to them." And he says, "What if they're not there 
to see me; they're there to see Mick J agger or somebody else?" And 
later on, they're sitting down on the couch, and you realize Soon-Yi 





1 


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f 

is 


\ 

■Ml 




s 


^^ 








Woody Allen in concert, from 
Wildman Blues. 

Courtesy Fine Line Features 


— 


► t'3 








\ 1 



hasn't read anything that he's written and hasn't even seen Annie Hall. 
And how boring she thought Interiors was. And he says, "I'm good at 
making Europeans like films that drone on and on." Then a little time 
goes by and you see him sitting there, and she says, "What's the mat- 
ter?" And he says, "I'm feeling depressed." 

I could name any number of scenes where he was real. That's real- 
ly who he is and what he's about. There was no formality with him. 
The only time he was performing was when he was on stage. So I felt 
totally different. I felt that as a filmmaker, I was able to really see 
behind the scenes of Woody Allen: get into hotel rooms, get back- 
stage, get him swimming, get him on treadmills, get him in social situ- 
ations — all of that stuff you never see. 

You didn't go into his bathroom. There are so many great bathroom scenes in 
Allen's films, I was curious what his own would be like. 
Actually I did, but it didn't make the film. We had a hard time editing 
it down. 

How many hours of footage did you have? 

If you count all the concerts, 50. 

Did he have right of review? Did you show him the film in progress? 

I showed him the work 
around three hours, 
which I felt was too long, 
but he was very anxious 
to see it. He and Soon-Yi 
came over. They're sit- 
ting in the editing room 
right over here, and 
they're like two kids in a 
toy store. Soon-Yi was 
holding Woody 's arm, 
and they were giggling. 
Woody had his finger 
over his mouth, chuck- 
ling. It wasn't as if they 
were looking at them- 
selves; it was as if a char- 
acter and a relationship 
was being defined, and 
that's how^ they were looking at it. When he got up to leave, he said, 
"So, how are you going to cut this down?" I said, "I don't know; it's 
going to be really hard, but I'll do it." He said, "It's very entertaining." 
He liked it. He had a few comments on the music. We listened to 
them, and they were good. We implemented them. And that was it; 
goodbye. 

But this was also not his film. I remember having a discussion with 
him once, saying, "When you finish your films, do you go see them in 
a theater or with an audience?" He said, "I'll screen it with the cast 
and crew, but no, once I do it, I'm finished with it." I said, "I always do; 
that's the treat for me, the present at the end— to sit there with an 
audience and be able to see where they laugh, or shrug in their seats. 
It just gives me a whole different look. I'm so happy to be able to do 
that. It's a full circle of completion for me." He said, "Well, your film I 
could do that with." I said, "Yeah, I know why. Because the burden is 
on me, right?" He said, "That's right." 

Did you do more interviews that didn't make it into the film, or consider it? 
No. 

Continued on page 60 



30 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



THE LURE OF 

HOMICIDE 

Perhaps it's because film director 

Barry Levinson started the 

series. But whatever the reason, 

NBC's Homicide has put out the 

welcome mat for independents. 

by Max J. Alvarez 

It's a foggy after- 
noon in Fells Point, 
the increasingly 
gentrified harbor 
community of 

downtown Balti- 
more where re- 
stored New England- 
style storefronts 
adorn cobblestone 
streets. A tew doors 
down from the tiny 
Orpheum cinema is 
the Hotel Waterfront Restaurant where documentarian Barbara 
Kopple prepares to direct a scene for the edgy NBC cop show, 
Homicide: Life on the Street. 

The restaurant is the set for a bar run by Det. John Munch (played 
by actor Richard Bel:er), and Kopple has gathered her actors around a 
pool table in the back to review a four-page dialogue scene involving 
Det. Munch lashing out at a customer. 

The week has been hectic for Kopple — two days earlier she filmed 
13 pages of dialogue in 1 1 hours. Although Kopple has done dramatic 
fiction before, this is her second Homicide (aired March 13). Last year, 
she directed "The Documentary" episode, which featured a pseudo- 
documentary about the lives of the police department's homicide unit. 
The current episode filming in Baltimore is a bit quirkier — it concerns 
a man who may or may not have been killed by a pit bull. 

Executive produced by film director (and ex-Baltimorean) Barry 
Levinson and Tom Fontana (producer of HBO's Oz and NBC's St. 
Elsewhere), Homicide has quietly occupied a Friday night time-slot on 
the network for the past five years. The hiring of independents is not 
unusual for the critically acclaimed series. Recent Homicide directors 
(all of whom have also directed for Fontana's Oz) include Nick Gomez 
(illtown), Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol), Allison McLean (Crush), 
and Darnell Martin (I Like It Like That). 

Independent filmmakers are attracted to the show for several rea- 
sons: the pay ($25,000 for less than a month's work); the practice 




Actors Andre Braugher and Kyle Secor on the set of 
Homicide: Life on the Street. 

Photo: Michael Ginsburg, courtesy NBC 



(landing work between theatrical films); and the series' hip, gritty, 
guerrilla-style filmmaking methods. In the tradition of the 1967-69 
ABC series NYPD, each Homicide episode is filmed in handheld 16- 
millimeter; scenes are lit on a 360-degree scale in order tor camera 
operators to point and swing in any direction. 

"In the first year it was quite rigorous in trying to be true to a cer- 
tain theoretical approach," explains director Allan Taylor 
(Palookaville) , who has directed half a dozen episodes of the show since 
its inception and is scheduled to begin another one right after Kopple 
completes hers. "Barry Levinson had us all watch Godard's Breathless 
as homework, which was really neat — a five-minute shot of Jean-Paul 
Belmondo's head as he talks. In later years, it started to, in a way, 
loosen up, but, in a way, get watered down — people started using 
cranes and dollies and car-mounts to shoot the windshield. I gather 
that there's a return to purity right now." 

The average budget for a one-hour Homicide is between $1.2 and 
$1.5 million, and co-producer Tom Fontana cites this as a strong rea- 
son to pursue indie filmmakers. "The shape each individual show has 
is different from one episode to another, and that allows us to invite 
directors in to put their own 
style and spin on the show. 
Obviously, it has to look like 
the show, but within the spe- 
cific story that week we allow 
them some latitude." 

Series directors are usu- 
ally given seven da\> tor 
prep work, seven days for 
shooting, and tour days for 
postproduction. In keep- 
ing with network TV pol- 
icy, control over the 
Homicide scripts is in the 
hands of the writer/pro- 
ducers, although "tone" 
meetings are held with 
directors to discuss the 
scnpt> they've been 
assigned. 

"The thing that's 
really special about directors like 
Barbara who are picked to come here is that it seems like 
we're improvising and it seems things are spontaneous because it's real- 
ly honest," says actress Callie Thorne, who joined the series last fall in 
the role of Det. Laura Ballard. Nevertheless, because the series regu- 
lars are considered to be well versed in their characters, Fontana says 
the show is less concerned about hiring actors' directors than it is with 
hiring directors who will focus their attentions on camera movement, 
the visual look of the piece, and editing. 

"I think that our using independent filmmakers gives our show a 
constant kind of rejuvenation," says Fontana. "It doesn't allow us — 
actors, writers, crew — to get complacent and fall into a pattern." 

Filmmakers interested in obtaining more information about direct- 
ing for Homicide: Life on the Street should contact Gail Mutrix at 
Mutrix/Jacobs Productions, 10201 West Pico Blvd., Bldg 667, Rm 200, 
LA, CA 90035; (310) 369-5241. 

Max J. Alvarez is a Washington, D.C. unter and super-8 filmmaker. 




Barry Levinson, executive producer 

Photo: Eric Lieboeitz, courtesy NBC 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 31 



w 



hen Breaking me Waves star Emily Watson first landed in 
LOS Angeles, she had no idea what to make of it. "I asked to be taken 
to the center of town," she said, "but there was none." Other cities 
grow out of a middle, but the L.A. sprawl has no geographic middle. 
There is nothing organic about Los Angeles's development. Any cen- 
ter it had was killed when Bunker Hill was bulldozed in the fifties. 

Whether the city's peculiar development is the end result of being 
the entertainment capital of the world, the film industry is one of the 



spectives of lesser-known Hollywood directors. 

L.A. is also host to a number of film festivals: the American Film 
Institute's fall festival, recently revamped under the leadership of for- 
mer Slamdance co-organizer Jon Fitzgerald; the biannual and citywide 
L.A. Freewaves, coming up this summer; the Los Angeles Asian 
Pacific Film &. Video Festival (May 14-21), organized by Visual 
Communications; and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival 
(LAIFF), going on this month (April 16-20). In its four short years, 




few things that all of L.A's disparate parts have in common. It is impos- 
sible to avoid. But the real difficulty isn't avoiding it, it's embracing and 
discussing film in environments where art-as-commerce types won't 
kill your passion for it. Where do you meet like-minded independents 
in a city where everyone looks like an extra from CHIPS? If you're stay- 
ing in L.A. for awhile or putting down roots, there are a variety of 
events where indies outweigh the striped-shirt schmoozers. 

The Independent Feature Project West is one of L.A.'s most orga- 
nized attempts at galvanizing the Los Angeles indie film community. 
They have changing schedules of regular events, from the New Visions 
screening series to numerous after-hours pow-wows at their well 
stocked library. An updated schedule can be found at 1-310-475-4379, 
ext. 6. Their library is an excellent place to find out about less well pub- 
licized indie events. 

Even in Hollywood, the shadow of a certain Utah festival looms 
large: the Sundance Institute holds regular public screenplay readings: 
call 310-394-4662 to find out what and when. American 
Cinematheque (213-466-3456; www.americancinematheque.com) 
hosts a variety of screening series, ranging from queer shorts to retro- 



LAIFF as become a power player on the national festival scene and, 
within Los Angeles, a Trojan Horse, where those who don't get invit- 
ed in storm the gates en masse. 

For filmmakers touching down for a brief time, like those attending 
LAIFF, the following is a run-down of another type of place one can 
hook up with filmmakers and industry folks: L.A.'s eateries. It is a rare 
time when notorious Hollywood establishments are filled with film 
professionals outside the studio system, so take advantage. Like the 
film industry itself, these places operate along a hierarchy of budgets, 
so it helps to know where it's best to woo an agent, and where you can 
hang with friends and perhaps even find your next DP 



Festival hot spots 



In the past the LAIFF has taken place at Raleigh Studios, and 
the myriad jaded LAIFF refugees have taken solace at the Formosa on 
the corner of Formosa and Santa Monica, one of the rare places peo- 
pled by both fringe and studio players. The bulk of this year's fest will 
take place in the Directors Guild (7920 W Sunset Blvd.), close 



32 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



enough to allow this bastion of L.A. noir to remain the primary loca- 
tion for casual gatherings. In years past, eating at the Formosa was a 
risky thing to do, but recently regulars have claimed that the kitchen 
has cleaned up its act. There should be plenty of people to talk to, from 
aging rock stars to emerging screenwriters, below-the-liners to sick-of- 
it-allers. 

Most of L.A.'s best hang-outs share the same Double Indemnity feel 
that emanates from the Formosa. The Farmers Market (Fairfax & 3rd) 
also seems out of another era. The combination of old-fashioned din- 
ers, grocers, and food vendors seems to attract the most interesting 
cross-section of the Hollywood community. Undernourished screen- 
writers live by the spicy, generous helpings at the Gumbo Pot. It's easy 
to take your food and go to the Pan Pacific Park (site of the old Xanadu 
roller rink) or to the park by the La Brea Tar Pits. Outdoor areas are 
generally better to conduct interviews, provided there is plenty of 
shade. 

If you want a more professional setting in the vicinity of the festival, 
Barney's Green Grass inside Barney's department store in the heart of 
Beverly Hills is where you should lunch. The restau- 
rant will be filled with agent-types, many from William 
Morris. The food is more delicious than expensive, 
but still quite expensive. It's perfect for a daytime 
meeting and will probably be one of the few spots 
you'll actually like in Beverly Hills, where most indies 
feel like a minnow among ignorant sharks. 

It's better, of course, to talk about movies in an 
environment where all the concerns aren't commer- 
cial ones. Buzz Coffee (8200 Santa Monica) is the spot 
for pre-screening pick-me-ups. The billboard by the 
door is usually littered with film-related announce' 
ments. Flyers announcing counter programming that 
the festival brass doesn't want you to know about can 
be found on this billboard, along with the one at 
Highland Grounds (742 N. Highland). Less crowded 
alternatives for coffee drinkers are Little Frida's, run 
and frequented primarily by lesbians (870 Santa Monica Blvd.), and 
Melvin's (8205 Melrose). 

Stalking the power lunches 

If you've come to L.A. with a straight-outta-Kinkos stack of 
screenplays to hand over to your agent, try The Grill in Beverly Hills. 
It might also work for those without agents who take the stealth route 
and depend on chance encounters and chutzpah to further their cause. 
It's an ugly thing to do and it hardly ever works, but if you're going to 
try it, stop in during lunch hour any weekday. Carry your scripts in the 
kind of nondescript black satchel that Danish schoolboys use in old 
Paul Verhoeven movies and sit at the bar. When some guy in a baggy 
suit sits rigidly next to you and begins rolling calls on his phone, 
attempt to strike up a very quick conversation; remember: no atten- 
tion span. You may get lucky. 

If that doesn't work, your next step is Chaya Brasserie for drinks or 
dinner (Alden &. Robertson). This is where all the New Line and Fine 
Line execs gather for after-work bull sessions. The atmosphere is rela- 
tively loose and lively, so your chances are slightly better. The Palm 
(9001 Santa Monica Blvd.) is where the old-timers gather — the Lew 
Wassermans and Alan Ladd Jr.'s, who come here to get the best darn 



steak money can buy. Warning: the waiters are very grumpy, so have a 
plan of attack before you bumble your way around the restaurant. 
Finally, for the truly intrepid, the power nucleus of L.A. agents is the 
bar at the Peninsula Hotel (9882 Santa Monica Blvd.). Every agent 
from CAA tries to take every meeting they can there, because it's right 
next door. You could sip your Long Island Ice Tea all day in one of the 
comfortable little tables until some balding, expensively-dressed agent 
shows up alone. Go in for the kill. 

Where Swingers congregate 

Then again, you came here to enjoy yourself. Most of the places 

you'll want to gravitate towards will be east of the festival, in Los Feliz 
and Silverlake, places where none of the guys above would be caught 
dead. It there is a seat of independent film in Los Angeles, it is here. 
Inspired by a thriving underground music scene (The Geraldine 
Fibbers, Spain), filmmakers have recently begun making a community 
tor themselves in this once-forgotten territory east of Eden. Like most 
of Los Angeles, Los Feliz and Silverlake are much 
better if you have a local on hand to guide you. 
Barring that, use the Internet: www.silverlake- 
2000.com will give you an insider's perspective on 
dive bars, coffee clatches, and anything that is hap- 
pening in the area. Though its links page, you will 
find any underground, unadvertised screenings that 
are happening in the area. 

Los Feliz is a place where many of Hollywood's 
better known iconoclasts, from Leonardo DiCaprio 
to Diane Keaton, lay their heads. The stretch of 
Vermont between Hollywood and Franklin is the 
commercial hub of the area, home of record stores, 
artsy boutiques, and LA's oldest and most com- 
plained about cafe, the Onyx. Hillhurst is the other 
main drag: good restaurants and bars of every grade 
can be found here. You will remember the Derby (4500 Los Feliz Blvd.) 
and the Dresden Room (1760 N. Vermont) from Swingers. In the lat- 
ter 's lounge, Marry & Elaine are still crooning away, just as badly as 
they did in the movie. For the less self-consciously hip, Ye Rustic Inn 
(1831 Hillhurst Ave.) and the Drawing Room (Vermont & Franklin) 
are two bars that seem to attract less pretentious scenesters along with 
the area's more colorful grade of lowlife. On weekends Los Feliz's best- 
kept secret is a place called the Thailand Plaza (Western & 
Hollywood). It features private room karaoke, a cafeteria, and a stellar 
Taiwanese Elvis impersonator named Calvin. 

Like L.A. itself, the independent film community in Los Angeles has 
no central nerve center. Despite the attempts of organizations such as 
the IFR indies there will never centralize; their hard-fought autonomy 
is too valuable. Those who currently loom the largest — Allison 
Anders, Gregg Araki, and Chris Munch, among others — have thrived 
artistically in the shadow of the studios, and they intend to keep it that 
way. Independent film in L.A. does not have the cultural cache that it 
has in the East: it is an industry that survives in the fringes, similar to 
the way that independent publishing does in New York. You must work 
to find it, and when you do, you will discover it a vibrant, wholly sep- 
arate entity, surprisingly uncompromised by its billion-dollar doppel- 
ganger. 

Oliver Jones is a freelance journalist who lives in Los Angeles. 



When some guy in 

a baggy suit sits 

rigidly next to yon 

and begins rolling 

calls on his phone, 

attempt to strike 

up a very quick 

conversation; 

remember: no 

attention span. 

You may get lucky. 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 33 




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IN FOCUS 





I 



How Digital Products Are Spreading to the Film Set 



by Rob Rown d 



This Old Steenbeck 

Trying to imagine contemporary filmmak- 
ing without the personal computer is like try- 
ing to imagine the rest of contemporary 
American life without the automobile. 
Neither seemed necessary until everyone had 
one. And in destroying as many means, 
modes, and patterns of life as they created, 
both have altered everything they've 
touched. Prior to the automobile, people 
lived in neighborhoods close to where they 
worked. They shopped at corner grocery 
stores and walked up the street to movie the- 
aters. Prior to the computer, every aspect of 
the filmmaking process was a concrete, tactile 
experience, from typing dialogue to cutting 
the negative. It's a pretty safe bet that John 
Cassavetes understood the meaning of those 
squiggles and diagonal lines that editors used 
to draw directly on workpnnts. Not only did 
he know several professional negative con- 
tormers, he probably had a personal favorite. 
Here in Chicago, which is eithet the tilth 
or eighth largest production market in North 
America — depending on how you character- 
ize "production" — only one full-time negative 
film conformer remains active. I couldn't find 
any statistics on the decline in the number of 
linear feet of workprint footage developed in 
the last five years, but a quick and complete- 
ly unscientific survey of my filmmaking 
friends failed to turn up anybody who'd seen 
projected 16mm dailies since 1995. You can 
say the neighborhood isn't changing any- 
more. It has changed. 

Digital Gentrification Phase I: 
Fully Occupied 

The reason for the shift in production 
modes is two-fold. First, the availability of 
videotape -based linear off-line editing sys- 



Onmt OtftM Sy*«n 




tems undercut the flatbed in markets where low 
postproduction costs were more important than 
speed or flexibility. Next, the rise of computer- 
based nonlinear editing systems eliminated 
what was left of film cutting by being as fast and 
as flexible. It replaced off-line editing altogeth- 
er by becoming as inexpensive. 

Tape-based linear on-line systems and nega- 
tive conforming continue to dominate their 
specialized niches at the tail-end of the post 
process. But it is now possible to do almost all 
postproduction work with a $10,000 desktop 
computer loaded with $20,000 worth of soft- 
ware. Having more than one basic station or a 
single more expensive system can greatly speed 



up the process, 
but the general 
consensus 
among postpro- 
duction wizards 
is that it is possi- 
ble to do any of 
the image or 
sound manipula- 
tion commonly 
performed on 
high-end sys- 
tems like Harry 
or Flame with a 
fully tricked-out 
Mac or Win- 
dows NT box. 

This is not to 
suggest that it is 
economically 
feasible to do so 
on the grand 
economic scale 
and compressed 
postproduction 
schedule that 
mainstream 
Hollywood and 
commercial pro- 
duction employ. 
The big propri- 
etary machines and software programs are 
worth the huge outlays of cash they command 
because their lightning-fast rendering speeds 
allow the networks and studios to buy back lost 
time. 

However, things are different for the inde- 
pendent filmmaker, who usually has more time 
than cash. In this production mode, where time 
equals money divided by credit rating, the 
reduction in postproduction costs without a 
loss in image or sound quality made possible by 
the low- end digital systems has opened the 
door for a lot of new talent. Not coincidentally, 
independent film has replaced alternative rock 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 35 



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as the hot entertainment product. New people 
are telling the stories, and they aren't the same 
stories. 

Digital Gentrification Phase II: 
Under Construction 

In the next phase of the digital revolution, 

the computer moves onto the set. This lowers 
the cost of a film during production in the same 
way the first phase lowers the cost in postpro- 
duction. In a nutshell, it's now possible to cob- 
ble together a portable and, when necessary, 
battery-operated nonlinear editing system that 
fits on a Magliner production cart just like a 
sound or analog video-assist package. This 
$7,000 to $30,000 system is a powerful tool that 
enables a director to combine the images from 
the camera's video-assist feed with the audio 
and, in higher-end systems, time code informa- 
tion from the DAT or Nagra sound package. 
This can provide a new level of certainty that 
you have what you need from a given take, 
camera position, and scene. It makes it possible 
to begin work on the director's cut on the first 
day of shooting. 

L. A. -based video-assist guru Ian Kelly is 
widely credited with being the first person to 
bring nonlinear editing into the video-assist 
rodeo during the production of Forrest Gump. 
Like or loathe the film, you have to concede its 
structural and technical mastery. It's a wonder- 
fully seamless rendering of some very complex 
visual ideas. Such precision is only possible 
when one is able to assemble all the pre-exist- 
ing picture elements prior to shooting and then 
combine them in rough form with the live 
images. While Woody Allen's Zelig required a 
room full of technicians wrestling with analog 



signals, Kelly used a Pentium mini tower, a 
couple of monitors, and an off-the-shelf D- 
Vision software package to help produce 
more seamless results. In the decade 
between the two projects, video technology 
had gotten that much smaller, more precise, 
and easier to manipulate. 

The best news for those working with lim- 
ited budgets is that four years after Ian 
Kelly's innovations, the tools he combined 
are now quite affordable. From New York to 
Nashville, and Austin to Chicago, filmmak- 
ers are using or getting ready to incorporate 
this technology into projects with budgets 
ranging from $125,000 to $1 million. In 
answer to a query I posted on a half-dozen 
film-related on-line newsgroups, I heard 
back from solid fans of Avid MCXpress, 
M100, D-Vision, Premier, Avid Videoshop 
on both MAC and WINTEL platforms. 
They come from diverse backgrounds in aca- 
demic, music video, feature, and corporate 
production. But what they have in common 
is that, at some point, it occurred to them 
that their nonlinear editor could fit on a 
rolling cart or in the back of a van. 

Moore's Law, a basic tenet of computer 
science, states that microprocessor speed will 
double every 18 months. This postulate dri- 
ves the computer industry toward introduc- 
ing increasingly advanced machines whose 
improvements are useful to ever smaller per- 
centages of consumers (e.g., toaster ovens 
that provide fully annotated random access 
multimedia presentations from the Riverside 
Shakespeare while toasting a bagel exactly 
how you like it). Rownd's Law, a basic tenet 
of artistic common sense and the financing 
of extended vacations, states that there is 



36 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



never a good reason to buy a machine that can 
provide you with processed information faster 
than you can use that information. The inter- 
section of these two laws, of course, forms the 
Oedipal Hard Drive Curve, which divides the 
human race into those who buy hi-tech shiny 
objects for their own sake and those who buy 
them as tools. The tool users are generally able 
to pick up the last season's shiny objects for 
about half price. 

Computers that can be turned into onset 
digital devices have dropped beneath the shiny 
edge of the curve with the introduction of the 
late 1996 upgrades of the WINTEL and MAC 
product lines. The image quality of video- 
assist footage is limited by the tiny video sur- 
veillance-type camera that attaches to the film 
camera's viewing system. Even under ideal 
conditions its output barely rivals home VHS 
quality. Since you're going to be using this 
footage as nothing more than placeholders for 
a later edit or composite, there isn't any point 
to saving this information in files larger than 
those needed to maintain VHS-quality 
images. This poor image quality turns out to be 
quite a blessing in disguise, because the small 
file size allows for both economical storage and 
faster rendering of composites and transitions. 

For our test, we drove Power MAC 9500 
150MHZ (the greatest thing since sliced bread 
circa 1996, but now about three to four nudges 
slower than a MAC G-3 or Pentium II 
machine) running Media 100XS and then 
Adobe Premier. Under both software packages 
the machine was able to digitize images and 
sound in real time directly from the outputs of 
the video-assist VHS record deck. This 
footage was then archived according to reel, 
shot, and take numbers. Key frame PICT files 
were made as references for later compositions 
and to ensure coverage of a scene that had to 
be shot over two days due to weather. An 
unexpected benefit of these PICT files was dis- 
covered when they helped answer several con- 
tinuity questions on that especially disorga- 
nized pick-up day. There was no need to hunt 
through analog video-assist tapes. 

In addition to price, the major difference 
between the software packages wasn't render- 
ing speed or image quality. Instead it was 
MIOO's ability to organize and display footage 
in a variety of ways simultaneously. M100, like 
Avid XPRESS and D-Vision, is a real profes- 
sional editing package designed to handle a lot 
of information in an efficient and useful man- 
ner. Premier and Avid Videoshop are con- 
sumer items that, despite the best of inten- 



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April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 37 



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year programs offered in North America. 



Acting for Film & Television 



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Multimedia Production 



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tions, are not optimized for handling a lot of 
information. You can certainly do great things 
with them, but they don't make jumping from 
bin to bin or shot to shot as easy or effective as 
the larger packages. On these short test pro- 
jects, where the order and duration of scenes 
was pretty much set in the director's mind 
before we started shooting, the big advantage 
was the ability to look at everything with the 
click of a mouse. To know you were covered 
took your mind off the mechanics and allowed 
you to concentrate on the intangible aspects of 
the project. On a longer shoot, say a feature or 
elaborate FX sequence, this would only 
become more apparent. 

Digital Gentrification Phase III: 
Custom Floorplans Available 

The final phase of the digital revolution 
in film production will come when the com- 
puter is used as something more than a word 
processor and spreadsheet during preproduc- 
tion. This will be the most important phase of 
the entire transition, because it will change 
the look of the film and the ideas behind it 
before shooting begins. Given that few direc- 
tors or DPs draw very well, replacing ballpoint- 
rendered storyboards with a PICT file from a 
digital still or video camera via Photoshop not 
only makes the idea behind an image more 
focused, concise, but also more easily under- 
stood by the designers and technicians render- 
ing it. 

A last remnant of the factory-like studio 
production method is the concept of a film as 
something designed on paper as a script and 
budget, rendered into a rough shape during 
production, then trimmed into its final form 
during post. Obviously, it doesn't quite work 
that way in real life. But that three-phase, 
19th-century industrial society metaphor of 
design, collection of raw material, and manu- 
facturing of consumable commodity continues 
to shape how we think about the film process 
and product. Digital image technology can 
change that process by augmenting the words 
and dollar signs found on the paper with 
images that closely resemble the finished prod- 
uct. The key to cost-effective independent 
production is not only a solid through-line and 
sense of vision, but the organization of the ele- 
ments of that vision. In other words, not wast- 
ing your limited resources trying to discover 
that vision. And that's where digital prepro- 
duction will come into play. 

Rob Round (rrownd(Q aol.com) is a principal m 
Changing Black Maria and president of On Set Digital. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



IN & OUT OF PRODUCTION 



by Cassandra Uretz 

John Pierson . . . need we say more? Well, 
yeah. Author of Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes, 
Pierson has been a producer's rep, a hinder, 
an exhibitor, and a god- send for many of the 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^m indie 



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John Pierson hosts 
Split Screen, returning this 
month for a second season on 
the Independent Film Channel. 

Courtesy IFC 



move- 
ment's finest. 
He clinches his 
lynchpin status 
with Split Screen, 
his personalized 
survey of up- 
and-coming 
projects, players, 
movers, and 
shakers. Split 
Screen begins its 
second season 
April 6 on the 
Independent 
Film Channel. 
Split Screen, 150 
Crossways Park West, Woodbury, NY 11797; 
(516) 396-3000; fax: 364-7638; wwwjfctv 
com 

Conor McCourt builds on the success of 
Angela's Ashes, his brother Frank's Pulitzer 
Prize -winning family memoir, with The 
McCourts of Lim- 
erick. A relentless 
tale that beats you 
breathless with its 
stories of degrada- 
tion, alcoholic mis- 
ery, and abuse, the 
McCourt drunk- 
alogue ain't pretty, 
but it's riveting. In 
this companion 
piece to his best- 
selling book, author 
Frank M. tours the Limerick slums with his 
brothers, reminiscing about their traumatic 
past and introducing the family characters 
with greater detail. The McCourts of Limerick 
premiered on the Cinemax Reel Life series. 
The McCourts of Limerick, c/o Fisher, 145 
Palisade St. #376, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522; 
(914) 674-6164; fax: 674-6145; hshercoCg 
aol.com 

In The Ladies Room, doc masters Cynthia 
and Allen Mondell, founders of the prolific 
Media Projects, Inc., visit the various ladies' 
rooms of Texas to explore chick bonding in 
full bloom. Earth mamas, bee girls, wild wicca 
wimmen, and girls-next-door tell all, more or 




Rajul Mehta's Kumbharwada, Bombay. 

Photo: Rajul Mehta, courtesy filmmaker 



less, to these devoted documentarians, 
opening up secret rites for the world to 
see. The Ladies Room, Media Projects, 
Inc., 5215 Homer St., Dallas, TX 75206; 
(214) 826-3919; cynfilm@aol.com 

Kumbharwada, Bombay (Potter's Colony), 
Rajul Mehta's award-winning festival favorite, 
started as a college project in 1988. Seeking 
India's spiritual heart in mundane activity, 
Mehta immersed herself in a Gujarat potter's 
community subsisting in Bombay's notorious 
Dharavi slum. Hoping to convey the vitality 
that sustains the group in grim conditions, 
Mehta records the rhythms of hospitality, wor- 
ship, celebration, and creative work that is the 
potter's practice. New York's Museum ot 
Natural History will screen the film April 18-19 
with accompanying discussion. Kumbharwada, 
Bombay, 169 Greene St., #3, Brooklyn, NY 
11238; (718) 783-5517; Rajull4@aol.com 

In Brazil, axe — the power of life — is the 
strongest weapon minorities share in their 
struggle against the AIDS epidemic. Tania 
Cypriano's Odd Yd! Life with AIDS focuses on 
Candomble, a Brazilian religion that has joined 
AIDS sufferers of disparate background into 
one tribe through its blend ot taith, education, 
and acceptance. Throughout the states of Rio 
de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, and Bahia, Candomble 
activists and supporters 
discuss outreach to iso- 
lated or oppressed com- 
munities, the specific 
concerns of their 
African-descendent 
membership, and their 
commitment to a proud 
survival. Odd Yd'. Life 
with AIDS, Viva Pic- 
tures, 37 King St., #6A, 
New York, NY 10014; 
(212)647-8755. 
Little Shots of Happiness and Shucking the 
Curve, two of Todd Verow's "addiction trilogy," 
take office drone Suzanne Fountain (Bonnie 
Dickenson) through a nosedive a la Nan 
Goldins. Fleeing the Boston bad times she 
encounters in Little Shots, Suzanne aims for a 
Big Apple acting career in Shucking but finds 
herself drawn to a druggie club kid on the 
downward spiral. Her curiosity about New 
York's dark side soon locks her onto a crystal 
meth fast track through the city's grubbier dis- 
tricts, where she discovers more dangerous 
diversions. Little Shots of Happiness and Shucking 
the Curve, Bangor Films, 111 Hillside St., #3, 
Boston, MA 02120; (617) 734-1188. 



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April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 39 



FESTIVALS by Thomas Pal lotta 
[festivals@aivf.org] 



listings do not constitute an endorse- 
^j ment. since some details may change after 

■ the magazine goes to press, we recom- 
mend that you contact the festival direct- 
ly before sending preview cassettes, 
deadline for submitting a call for entries 
in the festival column is the 15th of the month 
two-and-a-half months prior to cover date 
(e.g.. april 15 for july issue). all blurbs 
should include: festival dates, categories, 
prizes, entry fees, deadlines, formats & con- 
tact info. to improve our reliability and make 
this column more beneficial, we encourage 
all mediamakers to contact fivf with changes, 
criticism, or praise for festivals profiled. 

Domestic 

AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL'S & HEART OF 
FILM SCREENWRITER'S CONFERENCE, Oct. 
1-8, TX. Deadlines: Screenplay Competition: May 
15; Film Competition: August 7. Austin Film Fest 
Screenplay Competition Categories: Adult & Family 
feature-length scripts. Screenplay awards: S3, 500; 
participation in Heart of Film Mentorship Program; 
airfare and accommodation to attend Heart of Film 
Screenwriter's Conference; the AFF Bronze Award. 
Film Fest has been extended to a week to "cater to 
the insatiable demand of the Austin audience for sig- 
nificant, exciting and leading edge cinema." Film 
Competition categories are: Feature, Short & 
Student Short. Cash & film stock awards. Judges for 
both competitions are industry professionals. Past 
judges have included representives from: Columbia 
Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Jersey Films, Bandeira 
Entertainment, William Morris Agency, Kennedy- 
Marshall, and the Sundance Channel. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm (submission must be on VHS NTSC). 
Films must be completed no earlier than June 1997. 
Entry fee: S35. Contact: Austin Film Fest, 1600 
Nueces, Austin, TX 78701; 1-800-3 10-FEST; austin- 
film(g aol.com; www.austinfilmfestival.org 

BALTLMORE'S QUEER FILM AND VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, June 6-7. MD. Deadline: April 15. Fest 
accepting short 6k feature-length narrative, doc, 
experimental films, videos 6k animation. Submission 
format: 1/2" SVHS, VHS or 3/4" Beta. Sole purpose 
of fest is to exhibit work by, about and of interest to 
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people from 
Baltimore 6k around the world. Contact: Chris Lines 
(410) 433-1395; bearcub8(§ juno.com; www.bgp.org 

BLACK HARVEST INTERNATIONAL FILM 
AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, Aug. 1-14, IL. Deadline: 
May 1 . Film Center at the School of the Art Institute 
of Chicago presents 4th annual Black Harvest Int'l 
Film & Video Fest. A showcase for contemporary 
cinema & video from the African diaspora. Black 
Harvest will feature films from around the world, 
reflecting black cultural, political and social experi- 
ences. Offerings from African nations, the U.S., 
Britain, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean 
are expected. Recent African American film and 
video works provide the core of the fest. Directors 
will present feature-length and short work in all gen- 



rev and an artists panel will provide additional com- 
mentary and insight on the black experience in film. 
Entry tee: none. Contact: Black Harvest Int'l Film 6k 
Video Fest, The Film Center, The School of the Art 
Institute of Chicago, Columbus Drive at Jackson 
Boulevard, Chicago, IL. 60603; (312) 443-3734; fax: 
(312) 332-5859; jallan@artic.edu 

BRECKENRIDGE FESTIVAL OF FILM, 
September 17-20, CO. Deadline: May 29 for scripts 
and June 30 for films. 18th annual festival presents 4 
day program of films, receptions, premieres, tributes, 
writers' seminars, and film education activities, pro- 
viding unique and varied filmfare shown at venues 
throughout the community. Approximately 50 inde- 
pendent US and international films are presented 
trom over 300 entries. Best of Fest awarded to films 
in 5 categories: drama, comedy, documentary, fami- 
ly children, and shorts. Our second Annual 
Screenplay competition will honor 1st place winners 
in adult drama, children family, comedy, and 
action adventure categories. Formats: For initial 
selection, film entries must be in VHS, NTSC format 
only. Final screening accepted, 16mm and 3/4". 
Scripts should meet US Motion Picture Industry 
standards and be 90-130 pages in length. Contact: 
Julie Bullock or Terese Keil, Breckenridge Festival of 
Film, Box 718, Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams, 
Breckenridge, CO 80424; (970) 453-6200; fax: 
(970) 453-2692; filmfest(5 brecknet.com; www. 
brecknet.com/bff /home, html 

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S 
FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 15-25, IL. Deadline: May 
29. The largest and most important festival of chil- 
dren's films and videos in North America, the CIFF 
will screen 150 films and videos in a marathon 10 
days at Facets Multimedia Center. Productions must 
have a production completion date of 1996 or later, 
and be dubbed or subtitled in English. Preview: 
NTSC or PAL cassettes. For entry forms and guide- 
lines write: Facets Multimedia, Chicago 
International Children's Film Festival, 1517 West 
Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60614; (773) 
281-9075; fax (773) 929-5437; kidsfest@facets.org 

CONTENT '98 MEDIA MARKET May 27-29, 
CA. Invites submissions by film/video producers and 
CD-ROM developers who are seeking distributors 
for educational titles. Distributors are invited to reg- 
ister for three days of intensive previewing. 
Sponsored by the National Educational Media 
Network, the Media Market, now in its 12th year, is 
the only market in the nation devoted exclusively to 
educational works. Traditionally draws distributors 
6k makers from across US and abroad. Dovetailing w/ 
market will be 28th Annual Apple Awards Film 6k 
Video Festival (May 29-31) at Oakland Museum. 
Rates vary; discounts avail, for 1998 Apple Awards 
Competition entrants 6k early bird registration. 
Contact: NEMN, 655 Thirteenth St, Suite 100, 
Oakland, CA 94612-1220; (510) 465-6885; fax: 
465-2835; content(S nemn.org; www.nemn.org 

CRESTED BUTTE REEL FEST, August 13-16, 
CO. Deadline: June 1, 1998. A competitive fest 
focusing on films under 60 min. in categories of ani- 
mation, comedy, drama, experimental, doc 6k stu- 
dent. Awards: Tom Skerritt, Erin Skerritt 6k Crested 
Butte Brewery will present the "White Buffalo Peace 
Ale Award" for exceptional merit in educational 6k 



humanitarian filmmaking! The "Bob Award" will 
be presented to the filmmaker who "pushes the 
envelope" the farthest along with other cash 
awards for each category and many industry con- 
tacts. Entry fee: $25 per entry', $10 student entry 
with proof of status. Submit only in 1/2 VHS 
videotape. For more info 6k entry form contact Pat 
Crow, Box 1819, Crested Butte, CO 81224; (970) 
349-7478; fax: 349-5626; cftarts(armi.net; 
http://198.147.224.il/cftarts 

DANCE ON CAMERA FESTIVAL Dec 12-13, 
NY. Deadline: July 15. Now in 27th year, fest is col- 
laboration between Dance Films Assoc. 6k Film 
Society of Lincoln Center. Preference given to 
experimental, doc 6k narrative projects. Entries 
must not have shown in NYC, on U.S. TV, or been 
submitted to previous Dance on Camera Festival. 
Entries must have been completed since January 1, 
1997. Entry fee: $25 ($15 for DFA members). If 
chosen, entries must be available in either 16mm 
or 35mm with optical soundtrack, 3/4" or Beta SP 
(NTSC); no Beta SP (PAL) can be shown. 
However, 1/2" (PAL or NTSC) and 3/4" versions of 
entries may be submitted to the committee for the 
selection. Contact: Dance Films Assoc, 31 W 21st 
St., 3rd fl, New York, NY 10010; (212) 727-0764; 
fax: 675-9657; dfa5(5 juno.com; www.virtu- 
alscape.com /dance_films 

FIRSTGLANCE LA: INDEPENDENT FILM 
AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, Mid-Sept., CA. 
Deadline: May 15. FirstGlance's inaugural year in 
Los Angeles encourages both student and profes- 
sional film and videomakers with low-budget, 
mini-budgets, and micro-budgets for underground, 
alternative festival whose mission is to exhibit all 
genres of work from mainstream to controversial in 
a competitive casual atmosphere. Categories 
include: Feature Length (over 60 min.), Narrative 
(under 60 min), Documentary (under 60min.), 
Experimental, Animation, Music Video, Student 
Projects. Special Category: Shot in Philadelphia, 
any project directed, shot or set in Philadelphia or 
any principal cast or crew member originally from 
the Philadelphia area. Prize money for Student cat- 
egory. Awards for other categories pending. Entry 
Fee: $25, students $20. All formats acceptable. All 
entries must be submitted on NTSC-VHS. 
Contact: William Ostroff, FirstGlance Director, 
FirstGlance LA., Box 57756, Sherman Oaks CA. 
91413; wroproCSmsn.com 

HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FES- 
TIVAL, October 10-18, AR. Deadline: May 29. 
7th year of this 10-day event featuring general doc 
films, humanities forums, lecture series, kids' films 
6k experiemental programs. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, VHS; preview on 1/2" VHS (NTSC). Entry 
fee: $25 domestic, $35 int'l. Contact: Gretchen 
Miller, HSDFI, Box 6450, Hot Springs, AR 79102- 
6450; (501) 321-4747; fax 321-021 l;hsdff@docu- 
filminst.org; www.docufilminst.org 

LNDEPENDENT FEATURE FILM MARKET, 

Sept, NY. First deadline: May 22; final deadline, 
June 12. Independent Feature Film Market is the 
only U.S. market devoted to new emerging film 
talent. Market is attended by over 2500 filmmak- 
ers, distributors, television and home video buyers, 
agents, developments executives and festival pro- 



40 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



grammers from the U.S. and abroad. IFFM is current- 
ly accepting submissions for the upcoming Market in 
the following categories: Feature Films (over 75 min.) 
Short Films (under 60 min.) Works-in-Progress (edit- 
ed scenes, trailer, intended for feature-length) Script 
(copyrighted, for feature length film). Seperate mem- 
bership 6k entry fees apply. All applicants must be 
current IFP members. Contact: IFP, 104 West 29th 
Street, 12 fl, NY, NY 10001; (212) 465-8200 ext. 107; 
fax: (212) 465-8525; IFPNY(u ifp.org; www.ifp.org 

INTERCOM INT'L COMMUNICATION FILM 
& VIDEO COMPETETION, Aug. IL. Deadline: 
May 1. Oldest int'l industrial film 6k video fest in US; 
now in 34th yr. Industrial, sponsored 6k educational 
prods eligible. Aim is "to showcase enormous techni- 
cal 6k creative energy behind sponsored prods 6i to 
highlight importance of media arts in busines-- com- 
munications.'' Cats incl. dental science, doc, drug 
abuse, educational, environment/ ecology, 
fashion/music video, rundraising, human relations, 
medicine, personal counseling, public relations, pub- 
lic service 6k information, religion, research, safety 
sales/marketing, sports/recreation, training, 
travel/transportation 6k video news release. Special 
achievement awards to acting, cinematography 
videography, computer graphics/animation, directing, 
editing, graphics, humor, music, special effects ^ 
writing. Awards incl Gold 6k Silver Hugos to top 
prods in each cat. Gold 6k Silver Plaques may also be 
awarded in each competitive cat. Entries must be 
produced between preceding year 6k date of entry. All 
formats accepted. Entry fee: $60-$200. Contact: 
Intercom, 32 West Randolph St., Suite 600, Chicago, 
IL 60601; (312) 425-9400; fax: 425-0944; film- 
fest(§ uua.com; www.chic; igo.ddbn.com, (ilmfest 

MAINE STUDENT FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

July 11. ME. Deadline: June 1. 21st Maine Student 
Film 6k Video Fest willl be held in conjunction with 
the Maine Int'l Film best. MSVF is open to Maine 
residents 19 years oi age 6* younger. Entries are 
accepted in all film 6si video formats and are divided 
into 3 categories: Pre -Teen Division ( Grades K -6), 
Junior Division (Grades 7- 9) 6k Senior Division 
(Grades 10 - 12). Submitted movies are reviewed by 
3 judges: an educator, a media arts professional, and 
a past MSFVF winner. Winners c* finalists receive a 
certificate of merit 6m pn:es such as movie tickets 6* 
videotapes. Grand prize winner, selected from the 
Senior Division, receives a scholarship worth 51400 
for the 2 week Young Filmmakers Program at Int'l 
Film 6k Televison Workshops, Rockport, Maine. All 
formats accepted. Entrv Fee: none. Contact: fiuey, 
Fest Director, Maine Student Film and Video 
Festival, Box 4320, Portland, ME 04101-0520. 
Phone: (207) 773-1130; hueyfilm@nlis.neti 
www.agate.net/~ile/mama.html 

MARGARET MEAD FILM 6k VIDEO FESTI- 
VAL, Oct. 22-29, NY. Deadline: May 8. Premiere fes- 
tial in US for independent/documentary film and 
video. This year's themes: Haitian Vodoo; Works on 
Argentina; religious movements; Infectious Disease, 
any strong nonfiction titles; all lengths eligible. Film 
6k videomakers whose works are selcted receive pass 
to all festival events; some financial assistance and 
housing available. After NY fest presentation, many 
titles packaged 6k tour to ind. film centers, museums 
6k universitites as part of national touring festival. 



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• all Independent articles (from 1/97) available online @ vnvw.elibrary.com 
42 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Contact: Margaret 
Mead Film Festival, American Museum of Natural 
History, Dept. Education, Central Park West at 79th 
Street, NY, NY 10024; (212) 769-5305; fax: 769- 
5329; meadfest(S amnh.org; www.amnh.org/Mead/ 

NATIONAL CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL, 

Aug. 28-30, IN. Deadline: April 15 (call submission 
packet). NCFF is organized in partnership with The 
Children's Museum of Indianapolis and other 
Children's Museum's nationwide. It aims to encour- 
age films and videos written, directed and produced 
by youth (9-18). Empowering children and young 
adults with their own voice and vision to promote 
better communication and understanding between 
generations. NCFF provides a forum for self-expres- 
sion and highlights issues of importance to young 
adults and children and reaches out to youth of all 
races, religions, cultures and those who are economi- 
cally, physically and mentally challenged. NCFF also 
aims to serve as a wake-up call to adults by focusing 
on the concerns and interests of children and young 
adults. Awards and scholarships are given. All gen- 
res and formats. For details of your nearest partici- 
pating museum, contact: Ms. leva Grundy, The 
Children's Museum of Indianapolis, RO. Box 3000, 
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206; (317) 924.5431, ext. 
3832; www.childrensfilmfest.org 

NEXTFRAME: UFVA'S TOURING FESTIVAL 
OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FILM & 
VIDEO, September, PA. Deadline: May 31, fee $25, 
$20 UFVA members. Early bird deadline April 30 
(save $5). Fest (formerly UFVA Student Film 6k 
Video Festival) founded in 1993 to survey 6k. exhibit 
the very best in current student film 6k video world- 
wide. Emphasizes independence, creativity 6k new 
approaches to visual media. All entries must have 
been created by students enrolled in a college, uni- 
versity or graduate school at time of prod. 6k should 
have been completed no earlier than May of previous 
2 yrs. Work may have originated in any format but 
must be submitted for preview on VHS. Works con- 
sidered in cats of animation, doc, experimental 6k 
narrative. All works prescreened by panel of 
film/videomakers; finalists sent to judges. Over 
$10,000 in prizes awarded. About 35 works show- 
cased each year. All works previewed at annual con- 
ference of University Film 6k Video Association 
(UFVA), Aug. 6-9 at North Carolina School of the 
Arts, Winston-Salem, NC. Premiere held in 
Philadelphia Sept. 25-27. Year-long int'l tour of 
selected fest finalists begins after premiere. Past 
venues have included American Cinematheque 
(LA), Rhode Island School of Design, University 1 of 
Texas, Stanford University, and universities in 
Australia and Latin America. Selected finalists will 
also be broadcast nationwide on Independent Film 
Channel. UFVA is int'l otg dedicated to arts 6k sci- 
ences of film 6k video 6k development of motion pic- 
tures as medium of communication. UFVA's Int'l 
Fest Directory for Students available on website. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, 3/4", 1/2". Contact: 
NextFrame, Dept. Film 6k Media Arts, Temple 
University, Philadelphia PA 19122; 800-499-UFVA; 
fax: (215) 204-6740; ufva@vm.temple.edu; 
www.temple.edu/ufva 

NORTH CAROLINA GAY AND LESBIAN 
FILM FESTIVAL, August, NC. Deadline: May 1. 
Fest aims to open up audiences to wide spectrum of 



films by and/or about gay/lesbian /bisexual/transgen- 
der lives. NCGLFF also has produced series of events 
leading up to the fest incl. series on early gay films 
("The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly") . Fest accepts 
features, docs and shorts of any length, genre or cat- 
egory. No restriction on films' year of completion. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Entry fee: $10. 
Contact: Lawrence Ferber, NCGLFF Co-ordinator, 
1200E Schaub Dr., Raleigh, NC 27606; (919) 859- 
9831; NY Office: (212) 352-4424; fax: 233-9299; 
NCGLFF(« aol.com 

NOT STILL ART FESTIVAL OF VIDEO ART &. 
MUSIC, April 24-25, NY. Deadline: April 11. 
Sponsored by the Boswell Museum, the Not Still art 
Festival celebrate artists working in non-narrative 
and abstract electronic motion imaging genres. Now- 
accepting entries for exhibition this Spring in 
Cooperstown, NY. Founded in 1996, fest emphasizes 
collaborative works between media artists and musi- 
cians in which the contribution ot each is equal. Last 
years fest screened programs from across the U.S. and 
was attended by artists from the U.S. and Canada. 
Presents multiple events including a gallery exhibi- 
tion, screenings, talks and live performance, 
uploaded to the Internet. Non-commercial, indepen- 
dent and experimental works will be given primary 
consideration. There is no restriction the origin or 
date of creation of the works, if you wish to have your 
work returned, please enclose a SASE. Entry Fee: 
none. Please request entry form from NOT STILL 
ART, EO Box 496, Cherry Valley, NY 13320; tax: 
(607) 264-3476; nsafest(« hotmail.com; www.improv 
art.com/nsa.htm 

WILLIAMSBURG BROOKLYN FILM FESTI- 
VAL, June, NY. Deadline: May 5. Presented in col- 
laboration with the Williamsburg Art 6k Historical 
Center. Int'l fest showcases works in film &. video in 
the following categories: feature (above 75 mm), doc, 
experimental & short subject. Selected entries will be 
awarded the "Chamaleon" statuette and prizes. 
Filmmakers will participate in Q6kA sessions and 
panel discussions, and one entire day will be devoted 
to Brooklyn-based artists' works. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Super 8, 1/2", Hi-8. Preview on 1/2" only-non- 
returnable. Entry tee: $25. Contact: Marco Ursino, 
Festival Director, WAH Center, 135 Broadway 1 1211 
Brooklyn, NY; (718) 388-4306; wMW@aol.comi 
www.wahcenter.org 

WINDY CITY INTERNATIONAL DOCUMEN- 
TARY FESTIVAL, Sept. 19-27. IL. Deadline: April 
10. Fest showcases juried and invited programs of 
films and videos reflecting the richness and diversity 
of humanity, and focusing on human issues from per- 
spectives personal to global, and in styles ranging 
from the serious to the whimsical. Awards in 
Professional/Independent and Student categories. 
All entries must have English language audio track or 
subtitles. Preview formats, 1/2" cassettes in NTSC, 
PAL or SECAM, non-returnable; festival exhibition 
formats NTSC Beta, 3/4" U-Matic, and Hi8 video; 
1/2" video any standard; and 16mm and 35mm film. 
Entry fee of $40 for professional and independent 
entries, $35 if IDA member; $20 student entries or 
$15 for student IDA membets. Contact: Windy City 
Festival, c/o the Documentary Center, Columbia 
College Chicago, 600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 
60605, USA; (312) 344-7773; fax: 986-8208; windy 
cfest(5<aol.com 




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April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 43 



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NEW YORK EXPOSITION OF SHORT FILM AND VIDEO 

CALL FOR E VTBIES 

ANIMATION • DOCUMENTARY • EXPERIMENTAL • NARRATIVE • NEW MEDIA 

FESTIVAL: NOVEMBER 1998 

PUBLIC SCREENINGS • PANELS • SIDEBAR EVENTS • AWARDS 

at The New School, Greenwich Village, New York City 

Accepting Student and International Entries 

Sponsored by Tlie New School, New York State 
Council on the Arts, Barbizon Electric, 
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ENTRY DEADLINE: 

JULY 1,1998 

For entry form and guidelines: 

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YOUNG PEOPLE'S FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, 
line, OR. Deadline: May. Founded in 1975, this is an 
annual juried survey of outstanding work by grade 6k 
ligh school students from the Northwest (OR, WA, 
ID, MT, AK). A jury reviews entries 6k assembles a 
program for public presentation. Judges Certificates 
awarded. About 20 films 6k videos are selected each 
year. Entries must have been made w/in previous two 
years. Formats accepted: 35mm, 16mm, Super 8, 3/4", 
12", Hi-8. Entry fee: none. Contact Kim O'Brien, 
Festival Coordinator, Northwest Film Center, 1219 
SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205. (503)221-1156; 
fax: 294-0874; info(§ nwfilm.org 

Foreign 

ATLANTIC FILM FESTIVAL, September 18-26, 
Canada. Deadline: June 13. Founded in 1981, fest has 
emphasis on film 6k video productions from Atlantic 
Canada as well as selected int'l productions. Since 
1992, fest section ScreenScene has focused on films 
for children. Entries must have been completed w/in 
revious yr. Cash awards. Formats accepted: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Entry fee: $45475. Contact: 
Atlantic Film Festival, Box 36139, Halifax, NS 
Canada B3J 3S9; (902) 422-3486; fax: 422-4006; fes- 
tival^ atlanticfilm.com; www.atlanticfilm.com 

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL August, Scotland. Deadline: Mid May; fee: £10- 
£80, depending on budget. "Fest of discovery, cele- 
bration of cinema, centre of debate, & catalyst for 
new directors 6k first films." Began in 1947 as a doc 
film fest 6k is particularly interested in non-fiction; 
also in any film which has not been shown in public 
before. Showcases about 300 new films each yr; 
shows live action 6k animated shorts before every film 
in every section. In 1995 initiated major section of 
world premieres of int'l films, New British Expo, a 
market which attempts to show every British feature 
film made w/in previous yr. All films screened to pub- 
lic audiences except NBX; also screenings for press, 
delegates 6k attending guests. Awards go to Best New 
British Film, audience vote for Best Gala Film 6k Best 
Animation. Formats: 70mm, 35mm, 16mm, Beta; 
preview on 1/2". Contact: Liize Francke, director, 
Edinburgh Int'l Film Fest, Filmhouse, 88 Lothian 
Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9BZ, Scotland, United 
Kingdom; tel: 01 1 44 31 228 4051; fax: Oil 44 31 229 
5501; info(& edfilmfest.org.uk; www.edfilmfest.org.uk 

FILMFEST HAMBURG, Sept. 23-Sept. 30, Ger- 
many. Deadline: June 30. Fest, founded in 1969, is 
noncompetitive survey of new int'l prods, incl. retro 
section, special section on country or region, chil- 
dren's films, shorts 6k Hamburg prods. Fest w/ highest 
number of N. American indie productions in 
Germany. Cat's: features, docs, animation, children's 
film. Entries must have been completed after June 30, 
1997 6k must not have been shown in Germany. 
About 100 films are showcased each yr. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Entry fee: None. Contact: Josef Wut:, 
fest director, Filmfest Hamburg, Friedensallee 44, 
22765 Hamburg, Germany; tel: 011 49 399 19 00-0; 
fax; Oil 49 40 399 19 00-10; wwwfilmfesthamburg 

INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY FILM FESTIVAL 

June 22-28, Italy. Deadline: May 10; fee: none. 18th 
yr of fest held in town ofCattoIica. Open to mystery, 
crime, detective 6k thriller films, feature-length only. 



44 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



Films must not have been previously screened in 
Italy. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. All submissions on 
VHS; subtitles not required. Contact: Mystfest, 
Piazzale Nettuno 1, 47033 Cattolica, Italy; 011-39- 
541-968214; fax: 958137; mystfestca cattolica.net; 
www.cattolica.net 

KARLOVY VARY INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, July 3-11, Czech Republic. Deadline: 
April. Annual FIAPF-recognized competitive fest, 
founded in 1946. Held at one of world's oldest & 
most famous spas, fest is one of largest film events in 
central Europe. Feature competition 6k Doc com- 
petetion (feature-length & shorts) accompanied by 
several noncompetitive sections. Competiton entries 
must have be completed since Jan. 1 of previous yr, 6k 
not have competed in other int'l fests. Awards: Grand 
Prize of Crystal Globe, Special Jury Award, Best 
Director Prize, Best Actor/Actress 6k Lifetime 
Achievement Award. Formats: 35mm only. Entry fee: 
None. Contact: Jiri Bartoska, Karlovy Vary Int'l Film 
Festival Foundation, Panska 1, 110 00 Prague 1, 
Czech Republic; 01 1 420 2 24 23 54 13; fax: 01 1 420 
2 24 23 34 08 

LOCARNO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, August 6-16, Switzerland. Deadline: May 30; 
fee: none. In 51st yr, this major Swiss cultural/cine- 
matic all-feature event is known as "the smallest ot 
the big tests 6k the biggest ot the small," w reputation 
for innovative programming 6k support ot alternative 
visions trom ind. directors 6k recently founded nat'l 
film industries. Unique section is series ot open-air 
screenings in Locarno's Piazza Grande, which holds 
8,000. Program, in addition to competition 6* Piazza 
Grande screenings, incl. retro section, sidebar sec- 
tions, new Swiss cinema 6k film market. Competition 
accepts fiction features by new directors, art films, 
low-budget films, work from Third World, indies & 
cinema d'auteur. New section is Leopards ot Tomor- 
row, short films 6k works trom film schools around 
world. Entries must have been completed w in previ- 
ous yr. Films which have won prizes at cither int'l fests 
recognized by the FIAPF ineligible for competition 6* 
preferences for all sections given to world or Euro- 
pean premieres. Educational, advertising 6* scientific 
films ineligible. Awards: Grand Prix of Fest (Golden 
Leopard) together w/ Grand Prix of the City oi 
Locarno (SFr 30,000) to best film in competition; the 
City of Locarno (SFr 12,500); Third Prize (Bronze- 
Leopard) together w/ Third Prize of the City of 
Locarno (SFr 12,500), Fourth Prize (Bronze Leopard) 
6k Special Prize (Bronze Leopard), to actor or actress 
of exceptional merit in film in competition; Special 
Jury Award (SFr 10,000). 2 reps of each competition 
film will be test guests for 5 days. Over 250 prods 
shown each yr. Covered by 750 journalists from 30 
countries. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Contact: Marco 
Mtiller, director, Locarno Int'l Film Fest (Fest 
Internazionale del Film di Locarno), Via della Posta 6, 
Box 1621, CH-6600 Locarno, Switzerland; tel: 011- 
41-91-751-0232; fax: 011-41-91-751-7465; pardo<5 
tinet.ch; www.pardo.ch; US contact: Wang 6k Gluck, 
fax: (212) 941-1425; wangluck(5 ix.netcom.com; 
Michael Wilson: (818) 991-8875; fax: 991-3546 

LOCARNO VIDEOART/INTERNATIONAL 
VIDEO 6k ELECTRONIC ART FESTIVAL May - 

Oct, Switzerland. Deadline: Late May. Founded in 
1980, competitive, annual fest programs all video 



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along u, installations, multimedia shows, 6k collo- 
quia. Described as place "where artists, critics & 
phili isophers meet to have a point to discuss the state 
of the evolution between arts & technologies." 
Competition accepts works produced after June of 
preceding yr & unawarded in other fests. Com- 
petition criteria incl. any work that falls under the 
heading "video art" where "artistic research 6k cre- 
ativity overshadow both technical means employed 
6k reference category chosen by the artist." Awards: 
Grand Prix del la Ville de Locarno (25.000FRS; cash 
prize divided between Art Video: 10.000FRS & 
Installations: 15.000FRS), UNESCO Award (2 
grants to honor new talent), Conseille de Europe, 
three Laser d'Or Awards (to artists, theorists 6k/or 
institutions), Artronic, TV Picture, World Graph, 
Prix Lagomaggiore. About 60 prods showcased annu- 
ally. Formats: 3/4," 1/2". Entry fee: None. Contact: 
Lorenzo Bianda, president, AVART, Locarno 
VideoArt/Int'l Video & Electronic Art Fest (Video 
Art Fest et Forum International des Nouvelles 
Images), Videoart, Box 146, CH-6604, Locarno, 
Switzerland; tel: 011 41 751 22 08; fax: 011 41 751 
22 07; avart(& tinet.ch; www.tinet.ch/videoart 

I MUNICH FILM FESTIVAL, June 27-July 4, 
Germany. Deadline: May 1. Fee: none. Open to all 
genres w/ awards for Best Int'l TV Film & One Future 
Prize, as well as special awards for German filmmak- 
ers. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Contact: Eberhard 
Hauff, Director, Filmfest Miinchen, Kaiserstr. 39, D- 
)801 Miinchen, Germany; 011-49-89-38-19040; 

I fax: 011-49-89-38-190426. 

PORDENONE SILENT FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 
10-17, Italy. Fest, founded in 1982, is devoted to 
silent cinema, to films made before advent of sound 
or films discussing that period. Films lent by film 
archives or private collectors. Main features of this 
year's programme: Fox The Quest, The D.W. Griffith 
Project (part 2), DAnnunziana, Scottish Reels. Past 
retros: in 1997, the lstpart of the Griffith Project and 
Chinese silents; in 1996 Soviet cinema (1918-1924) 
6s. a retro of Herbert Brenon films. The audience of 
about 1,000 generally incl. about 500 specialists 
(archivists, historians, collectors). Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4," 1/2". Contact: David Robinson, director, 
Pordenone Silent Film Fest, Le Giornate del Cinema 
Muto c/o La Cineteca del Friuli, Via G Bini, Palazzo 
Gurisatti, 33013 Gemona (UD) Italia; tel: 011 39 432 
980 458; fax: 011 39 432 970 542; gcm(g proxima. 
conecta.it; www.cinetecadelfriuli.org/gcm 

SAN SEBASTIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, Sept. 17-26, Spain. Deadline: June 20. 
Held in an elegant Basque seaside city, San Sebastian, 
which celebrates its 46th year, is one of most impor- 
tant film fests in Spain, in terms of "glitter" sections, 
facilities, attendance (over 150,000), competition, 
partying 6k number of films. City is known for its 
food, beaches 6k quaint streets 6k fest attracts a num- 
ber of int'l celebrities (over 1,400 int'l guests) as well 
as wide selection of nat'l 6k int'l press (more than 
1,000 journalists). Fest shows features only-narrative, 
exp or exp/doc. Fest sections incl. Official 
Competition; Zabaltegi (open zone), section showing 
films from other fests, first films 6k films made by jury 
members; 4 retro cycles; Fipresci selection; selection 
of recent Spanish language films; films tor children. 
In Official Section (18 features), only 35mm feature 
films, prod in preceding 12 mos, not presented in any 



46 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



other competetive test & not theatrically screened in 
Spain eligible. Int'l jury awards the following: Golden 
Shell to best film; Silver Shell to best director; best 
actor; best actress; Special Jury Award; two Special 
Mentions. Directors of selected films (in some cases, 
actors) invited to fest; hotel accomoddation covered. 
Zabaltegi section shows 30-40 features. New 
Directors Award of 25,000,000 ptas [1,000 ptas = 
$6.60] to best 1st or 2nd 35mm feature fiction, for 
the director & the producer of winning film. 
Audience prize of 5,000,000 ptas awarded to distrib- 
utor of best film in Zabaltegi not competing for New 
Directors Prize. Formats: 35mm (competition); 
16mm. Entry fee: None. Contact: fest dir., San 
Sebastian Int'l Film Fest, Plaza de Oquendo s/n, 
Donostia, San Sebastian 20004, Spain; tel: 011 34 43 
481 212; fax: 011 34 43 481 218; NY rep Joyce 
Pierpoline (212) 929-3303; fax: (212) 929-3730; LA 
rep Berenice Reynaud, (805) 255-1050 x2421; fax: 
(213) 665-3440; ssiff@mail.ddnet.es 

SAO PAOLO INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM I 
FESTIVAL Aug. 20-29, Brazil. Deadline: May 30. 
Founded in 1990, festival is leading event for short 
format in Latin America. It aims to exhibit short films 
produced in Brazil, present Latin America's produc- 
tions & int'l selection allowing for greater access to | 
best int'l shorts of past and present. It also intends to 
exhibit films that may contribute to development of I 
short film concerning its language specific shape and 
way of production. Entries should have max. running 
time of 35 min; all genres accepted produced in 
'97/98. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Entry fee: None. 
Contact: Zita Carvalhosa, festival dir., Sao Paolo Int'l 
Short Film Fest (Fest Internacional de Curtas- 
Metragens de Sao Paolo), Associacao Cultural 
Kinoforum, Rua Simao Alvares, 784/2, Sao Paulo SP 
Brazil; 55-11-8529601 tel/fax; spshort@ibm.net; | 
www.estacao.ignet.com.br/kinoforum/saoshortfest 

TELESCIENCE (formerly Quebec Int'l Science 
Festival), Nov. 12-22, Canada. Deadline: Mid May. 
Founded in 1990, fest is one of largest int'l scientific 
film events, selecting about 70 films for its int'l pro- 
gram & 30 for competition. Strongly connected to 
network of scientific film fests throughout world, fest 
offers producers/directors opportunity to make their 
work known to organizers of other fests 6k foreign 
specialists attending. Competition offers awards in V 
cats: film for young people; environment; Quebec 
film or video; scientific popularization; excellence in 
film or TV; corporate film; francophone scientific 
film; science clip; feature film that involve science; 
scientific excellence & Radio-Canada Grand Prize. 
Also large North American & European markets. 
Entries must have been completed after Jan. 1 of pre- 
ceding 2 yrs. Formats: 16mm, 3/4" Beta. Entry fee: 
$50Cdn ( $100 Cdn for all additional entries). 
Contact: Herve Fisher, executive director, 15 Rue de 
la Commune Quest, Montreal Quebec H2Y 2C6; 
(514) 849-1612; fax: 982-0064; telescience(aartech. 
org; http://cite.artech.org/telescience 

VERZAUBERT FILM FESTIVAL, Nov. 12-Dec. 3, 
Germany. Deadline: May 31. One of the most suc- 
cessful gay 6k lesbian film festivals in Europe, pre- 
senting about 70 feature and short productions in five 
different German cities. Format: VHS, PAL, NTSC. 
Contact: Schorsch Muller, Rosebud Entertainment 
Berlin, Wittelsbacher Str. 26, D-10 707 Berlin; tel 
01 1 49 30 861 4532; fax: 861 4539. 




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April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 47 



CLASSIFIEDS 

[independent@aivf.org] 



deadlines: 1st of each month, two months 
■ prior to cover date (e.g. may 1 for july). 

■ classifieds of up to 240 characters 
(spaces & punctuation) cost s25/issue for 
aivf members, $35 for nonmembers; 240- 
480 characters cost $45/issue for aivf 
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exceeding length will be edited. all copy 
should be typed and accompanied by a check 
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include: card type (visa/mc); card number; 
name on card; expiration date; billing address 
& cardholders daytime phone. include valid 
member id#. 

Buy • Rent • Sell 

ARRI PERISCOPE tinder, practically new $600; 
Am Video Elbow tor 35BL camera w/ Phillips B6kW 
camera 55000: Arn S var. motor works great, looks 
O.K. $300; Arri S original case, tits camera w/ mat- 
tebox, 3 primes 6k filters SlOO; Arri S 400' mags, new 
condition S3 30 (4 avail.); Arri S 400' mags, great 
condition 5250 (2 avail.); Arri S 400' mags old flat 
door style $200 (1 avail.); Arri S Torque motors 12 
volt versions 5320 (2 avail.); Arri S Torque motors 8 
volt original $240 (3 avail.); Arri S Mattebox new 
cond w. long mounting rod $300; Arri S Mattebox 
new cond w short mounting rod $250. Call Silvera 
Cinematography (305) 898-0039; fax (305) 825- 
4494. 

DIGITAL FIELD PACKAGE: KY 27C camera & 
DV 10 dockable DV vtr (low hours), Canon 13x9 w/ 
Zx, NT Is, + Miller fluid head. $1 1,300 all or piece- 
meal. Editing: KYM 1200 special efx generator 
switcher, AC/DC (new) $1350, TBCs-NOVA 710 w 
YC 6k SC, Microtime 2 channel. TBC, $2000 both, 
YTRs: VO 5600 (Sony) 5850: JVC 3/4" edit system: 
BR 6650 6k. 8250 YTRs, RM S6U, monitor 51800. 
Carl (716)884-4311. 

ECLAIR NPR 16mm P kg: 12 x 120 Ang., 2-400' 
mags, set ofTiffen tilters, battery w/ charger, opera- 
tor's manual, case 6k cine's manual. $6,500 or best 
otter. Scott (512)462-4657. 

PANASONIC 3-chip digital camera for sale. AG- 
EZ1U, 6 months old, prime condition, still under 
warranty. Asking $2200 or best offer. Call (313) 996- 
0878; yauc(g umich.edu 

PRODUCE YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM FOR 

$20,000 (OR LESS): Producer of 21 indie features 
shares rare knowledge in 200 pg. book. No hype. No 
nonsense approach. $44.45 to: MARS, Box 11844, 
Ft. Worth, TX 76110 or call (817) 514-0308 
VISA/MC Guaranteed 5. 

SONY DX1000 FOR RENT: Complete digital 
camera pkg w Pro Audio, 4 lithium batteries, wide 
angle adapter, Sennheiser ME-66, boom pole, Beach 
mim/XLR adapter, mike camera mount. Crews avail- 
able. AIVF members J 150 day. Call (212) 966-3030 
x 2 4 4 . Shoot it now! 

VIDEO DECKS/ EDIT SYSTEMS FOR RENT: I 

deliver! All types at best prices: Beta-SP deck (Sony 



UVW-1800) $150 day. 3 4" deck (Sony 5600) 

day. D Vision 5450/week. VHS offline, Mackie 
Mixer too. David (212) 362-1056. 

Distribution 

AQUARIUS PRODUCTIONS, leading distributor 
ot outstanding videos because of outstanding pro- 
ducers. Join our collection ot tides on disabilities, 
mental health, aging, nursing, psychosocial issues, 
children 6k teen issues. For educational health mar- 
kets. Leslie Kussmann, Aquarius Prod., 5 
Powderhouse Lane, Sherborn, MA 01770; (508) 
651-2963; fax: 650-4216; www.aquariusproduc- 
tions.com 

CINEMA GUILD, leading film/video/multimedia 
distrib, seeks new doc, fiction, educational 6k anima- 
tion programs tor distribution. Send videocassettes 
or disc for evaluation to: The Cinema Guild, 1697 
Broadway, Suite 506, NY, NY 10019; (212) 246- 
5522: fax: 246-5525; TheCinemaGC" aol.com. 

EXPERT DISTRIBUTOR NEEDED for PSAs or 
VNRs? Public Interest Video Network can help pro- 
ducers 6k nonprofit organizations reach millions. 
Strong track record, experience 6k station data base 
get results. Call Aden Slobodow: (301) 656-7244. 

FANLIGHT PRODUCTIONS, distributors of 
award-winning films 6k videos on disabilities, health 
care, mental health, family/ social issues, seeks new 
work for educational markets. Karen McMillen, 
Fanlight Productions, 47 Halifax St., Boston, MA 
02130; (800) 937-4113. 

LOOKING FOR AN EDUCATIONAL DIS- 
TRIBUTOR? Consider the University of California. 
We can put 80 years of successful marketing exper- 
tise to work for you. Kate Spohr: (510) 643-2788 or 
http://wwvv-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/media/ 

SEEKING EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS on guid- 
ance issues: violence, drug prevention 6k parenting 
tor exclusive distribution. Our marketing gives 
unequaled results. Bureau for At-Risk Youth, Box 
760, 135 DuPont St., Plainview, NY 11803; (800) 
99-YOUTHx210. 

Freelance 

AATON CAMERA PKG. Absolutely perfect for 
independent features. Top of the line XTR Prod w 
S16, time code video, the works! Exp DP w/ strong 
lighting 6k prod skills wants to collaborate in telling 
your story. Andy (212) 501-7862; circa(« inter 
port.net 

AVID INSTRUCTOR/EDITOR: Affordable Avid 
training. Intensive 6k hands-on. Instructor/ editor is 
also available to work on your projects. Chris (212) 
726-8589. 

AWARD-WINNING EDITOR w/ Avid 6k Beta SP 
facility. Features, shorts, doc, music videos, educa- 
tional, industrials, demos, triligual Spanish/English 
Catalan. Low introductory rates. Nuria Olive-Belles, 
(212)691-3538. 

AWARD-WINNING PHOTOGRAPHER in 
NYC area. 10 years stills, 10 years video 6k now film 
tor your thesis, short film or feature project. 
http://cameraman.home.mindspring.com 



BLACKSTONES PUBLISHING (ASCAP). 

Music 6k Sound Design for film/TV, video. All 
styles, genres. Specializing in unique compositions 
6k sounds to complement your visuals. Call for 
quote & demo CD/Reel. Ernst (212) 556-5702; 
Kkleinerf" icmtalent.com 

BRENDAN C. FLYNT: Director of Photography 
w/ 15 feature credits 6k dozen shorts. Owns 35 
Arri, Super 16/16 Aaton, HMIs, Tungsten, 6k dolly 
« tracks. Call for quotes 6k reel at tel/fax: (212) 
226-8417/ ela292(« aol.com. Credits: Tromeo and 
Juliet, The Offering, Fine Young Gentlemen, Brushfire. 

CAMERAMAN w/ solid creative vision. Owner 
Aaton S16 6k Sony Digital DSR-200 camera pack- 
ages w/ shotgun 6k radio mic. Andy (718) 797- 
9051. 

CAMERAPERSON: Visual storyteller loves to 
collaborate, explore diverse styles 6k formats. 
Brings passion 6k productivity to your shoot. 
Award-winner w/ latest Super/ Std.16 Aaton XTR 
Prod, package. Todd (212) 686-9425; wacass(a 
concentric.com 

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Collaborative 6k pas- 
sionately committed, will work w/ you to find the 
right style for your film. Narrative or doc welcome. 
Love to travel. Eileen Schreiber (718) 349-3078. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Owner 16mm Aaton, 
plus 35mm non-sync 6k hand crank cameras. 
Experimental background; creative look. Shooting 
credits include: features, shorts, commercials, 
intersticials, music videos. New York based, will 
travel. Carolyn (888) 602-1774. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Owner of Aaton reg/S- 
16mm pkg w/ video tap & more. Creative, effi- 
cient, good listener. Features, shorts, docs, music 
videos. Interesting reel. Kevin Skvorak (212) 229- 
8357; kevskvk(5 inx.net. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ Aaton 16/S16 cam- 
era pkg, Sachtler tripod 6k lighting pkg looking for 
docs to shoot. Credits on award winning HBO 
docs, commercials. Will work for the reel. Easy 
going 6k dedicated. J.C. Thoma (908) 725-7412. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w, Aaton 6k Lighting, 
looking forward to working w/ collaborative 
Directors on: narratives, exp, docs, ES.A.'s, music 
videos. Call Steven Gladstone (718) 625-0556 for 
new reel; veenotph(a aol.com 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w Super 16 6k Beta SP 
pkg, credits on films by award-winning doc. 6k nar- 
rative directors. Seeking opportunities on innova- 
tive features, docs. Low- rates avail, for exceptional 
projects. Tsuyoshi (718) 243-9144. 

COMPOSER & INSTRUMENTALIST who has 
scored 9 award-winning films. All styles, all bud- 
gets. Full recording/mixing facility. Nana Simo- 
poulos, (212) 727-3705; nasimo(g spnnet.com 

COMPOSER: Experienced, versatile composer 
avail, for scoring, sound design. Can meet all post 
requirements. Video 6k audio reels avail. Cam 
Millar (212) 781-7737; Ccmillar(a aol.com 

COMPOSER FOR FILM/TV: Academy Award 
winning. Broadcast: PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS. Highly 
experienced 6k dedicated. Music in all stvles w an 
original touch. Complete digital studio. Rea- 
sonable rates. Leonard Lionnet (212) 980-76Y 1 



48 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



COMPOSER for film/video, new media projects. 
Innovative sounds that won't strain your pocket- 
book. For a free demo 6k brochure, contact 
Progressive Media Arts at: (415) 550-7172; e-mail: 
pma@progmedia.com; www.progmedia.com 

COMPOSER: Perfect music for your project. 
Orchestral to techno — you name it! Credits incl. 
NFL, PBS, Sundance, Absolut. Bach, of Music, 
Eastman School. Quentin Chiappetta (718) 383- 
6607; qchiap(o el.net 

CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY 

w/ Lighting Director background. Specialty films my 
specialty. Can give your film that unique "look." 
16mm & 35mm packages avail. Call Charles tor reel: 
(212) 295-7878. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Award win- 
ning, exp, looking for interesting projects. Credits 
incl. features, docs & commercials in the U.S., 
Europe & Israel. Own complete Aaton Super 16 pkg 
& lights. Call Adam for reel. (212) 932-8255 or 
(917) 794-8226. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Breath- 
taking images by Jeftery Lando, your partner in mak- 
ing your vision real. Numerous feature credits. Arn 
Super 16 pkg 6k lights avail. Call tor reel/conversa- 
tion: (718) 349-2130. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY looking for 
interesting features, shorts, ind. projects, etc. Credits 
incl. features, commercials, industrials, short films, 
music videos. Aaton 16/S-16 pkg avail. Abe (718) 

263-0010. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY « awards, 

talent 6k experience. Credits include features, com- 
mercials, docs, shorts 6k music videos. Owner of 
Aaton 16mm/Super 16mm pkg, 35mm pkgs also 
available. Call for reel. Boh (212) 741-2189. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ complete 
Arri-Zeiss 16mm pkg. Lots of indie film experience. 
Features, shorts and music videos. Save money and 
get a great looking film. Willing to travel. Rates are 
flexible and I work quickly. Call Matthew at (914) 
439-5459 or (617) 244-6730. 

DOCU-JOURNALIST w 15 yrs experience 

(beast, indie, exp, co-productions) seeks interesting 
challenges, esp social, investigative, tech 6k political 
subjects needing data-crunching or computer-aided 
reporting. Shirley Kisaichi, (718) 802-1329; ski- 
saichi(5 aol.com 

ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: Frequent con- 
tributor to Legal Brief column in The Independent 
and other magazines, offers legal services on projects 
from development to distribution. Reasonable rates. 
Robert L. Seigel, Esq.: (212) 307-7533. 

HOT NYC DP available w/ complete Aaton 16 516 
prod. pkg. Cannon, Zeiss, Nikon, Video Tap, even- 
thing! Feature, hot music video 6k commercial reel 
looking to expand, long, short form. Flexible rates 
(212) 929-7682. Reel. Res. Conversation. 

INNOVATIVE EDITOR w/ Avid available for 
challenging projects. Experienced in fiction features, 
commercials, music video 6k documentary. Reel 
available. Rodney (718) 246-8235. 

MUSIC COMPOSER & LOCATION SOUND: 

Original music scores 6k sound design in project stu- 
dio. Friendly, experienced 6k knowledgable. Also 



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location sound w/ Nagra 4.2. Call Andy at (914) 
741-2975 or (212) 243-4491. Andy Ryder (aaol.com 

MUSIC FOR FILM. ..Music ...Music ...Music 
...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music 
...Music ...Music ...Music ...Music #$%&*? ...Music 
...Music ...Music Todd Anderson (800) 925-4762 or 
(801) 467-4379 for demo. 

MUSIC: young composer just out of school &. look- 
ing for exp will work w/ any budget styles ranging 
from suspense to ambient, symphonic to experimen- 
tal. For demo call Jon Eichner at Surreal Film Music 
(770) 577-0800; heroless(a aol.com 

PICTURE SOUNDS: Musical soundscapes for 
film, video 6k advertisements. Call (914) 736-1011 
for consultation 6k free rough sketch of your ideas. 

STEADICAM: Dolly smooth moves w/ the flexibil- 
ity of a hand-held camera. Call Sergei Franklin (212) 
228-4254. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

ASST TECHNICAL DIRECTOR: School of Fine 
Arts seeks qualified applicants for appt. in vital 
film/video dept. w/ large undergrad 6k grad program. 
Req: BA/BFA, min. 2 yrs exp in media prod. 
Applicant should have unique facility w/ electronic, 
mechanical & digital technologies. Exp w/ academic 
environment desired. Will maintain equipment, 
carry out special projects, supervise student employ- 
ees, give workshops. Salary range: $22-31,000. Send 
resume, 3 refs to: Assistant Technical Director 
Search, Dept. of Film, University of Wisconsin, Box 
413, Milwaukee, WI 53201. 

TELEVISION DEPT. CHAIRPERSON: 

Chicago's Columbia College seeks director to pro- 
vide educational, administrative & artistic vision. 
Dept. offers concentrations in news, doc, entertain- 
ment, postprod, corp, & interactive TV. Applicant 
should have 10 yrs industry exp, management capa- 
bility, knowledge of changing technology. BS.BA w, 
grad degree or equivalent, familiarity w/ Chicago 
market, some teaching exp essential. Competitive 
salary w/ excellent benefits. Minority, women esp 
encouraged to apply. Send resume, application letter 
to: Television Search, Human Resources Dept., 
Columbia College, 600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 
IL 60605. 

VIDEO FACULTY POSITION: Dept. of Cinema 
at Binghamton seeks video instructor and program 
developer for Sept. '98. Dept. focuses on personal 
artistry in film/video within a liberal arts curriculum, 
formal aesthetic issues, theoretical 6k social dimen- 
sions of craft. Close ties w/ Owego Experimental 
Television Center. Applicants should have strong 
achievement record, relevant teaching & adminis- 
trative exp. Regular appointment w/ possible contin- 
uation. Send letter, vitae & sample of work to: Larry 
Gottheim, Chairman, Binghamton University, Dept. 
of Cinema, Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902. 

WRITERS & EDITORS WANTED: Are you a 
screenwriter w, experience in industrials, medical 
health 6k docs.' Do you have experience w/ DVision 
Pro 2.2 6k DVision Online 3.5.' Interested parties 
can send a resume 6k day rate or fee structure to: 
PBP 200 Park Avenue South #1612, New York. NY 
10003. 



50 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



Preproduction • Development 

GREAT SCRIPTS WANTED: Independent pro- 
ducer seeks scripts for development/production. 
Send scripts, treatments (incl. SASE it necessary): 
Donnelly Film Productions, 263 West End Ave, Ste. 
12G, NY, NY 10023. 

SU-CITY PICTURES EAST PRESENTS: The 

Screenplay Doctor, The Movie Mechanic 6k The 
Film Strategists. Experienced story editors/post spe- 
cialists provide insight & analysis for your screen- 
plays, treatment, synopses 6k films-in-progress. 
Major credits incl.: Miramax, Warner Bros., Fine 
Line, WGA, DGA, IFP. Multimedia, Advanced 
Tech., Interactive consultations. Competitive rates. 
Call for brochure: (212) 219-9224. 

P0STPR0DUCTI0N 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate 6k 6-plate 
fully equipped rooms, sound-transfer facilities, 24-hr 
access. Downtown, near all subways 6k Canal St. 
Reasonable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

16MM SOUND MIX onlv $80/hr! Fully equipped 
mix studio for features, shorts, docs. 16mm post ser- 
vices: picture 6k sound editorial, ADR, interlock 
screening, 16 mag xfers (.06/ft incl. stock), 16mm 
edgecomding (.0125/ft.) Tom (201) 807-0155. 

16MM & 35MM OPTICAL SOUNDTRACKS: 

If you want "High Quality" optical sound tor your 
film, you need a "High Quality" optical sound nega- 
tive. Call Mike Holloway, Optical Sound Chicago, 
Inc., 676 N. LaSalle St., #404, Chicago, IL 60610. 



(312) 943-1771 or eves. (847) 541-8488. 

3/4" SONY SP OFFLINE SYSTEM W/ TIME- 
CODE: 9850 deck w/ timecode generator/reader, 
9800 deck w timecode reader, RM450 controller 6k 
two 13" monitors. Single deck rentals available for 
Avid users. Negotiable, low rates. (718) 284-2645. 

$10/hr VHS SUITE: $20: 3/4"- 54". $15: VHS 3/4". 
Open 7 days 6k eves. Free titles, Amiga 6k special FX. 
Also: Hi8, A/B roll, S-8 film, dubs, photo, slides, 
stills, audio, prod., editor/training. The Media Loft, 
727 6th Ave. (23rd) (212) 924-4893. 

A NONLINEAR EDITING SYSTEM w/ broadcast 
quality output and editor tor $45 hr! Let my 1 5 \ r^ ot 
film/video prod. 6s. postprod. experience work 
towards perfecting your short long form project. Eves 
& wknds too. DMP Productions (212) 967-1667. 

AVID 8000: Why rent an Avid Media Composer 
400 when you can get an 8000 tor lev-..' Avid Media 
Composer 8000; real-time tx; 4 channel pro-tools; 24 
hr access. Seriously unbeatable prices!! (212* 228- 
2886; (718) 638-0028. 

AVID 8000 & 1000 SUITES: Pleasant, friendly, 
comfortable Upper West Side location. On-line 6k 
off-line, AVR 77, Protools, reasonable 6* affordable 
rates. Technical support provided. (2121 595-5002 01 

(718) B85-0955. 

AVID MCXPRESS: Latest version, off-line on-line. 
D2 quality. Neg. rates to suit your budget. Fast editors 
available. Beautiful, comfortable location; 25th 6* 
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BRODSKY & TREADWAY Film-to-tape masters. 



Reversal only. Regular 8mm, Super 8, or archival 
16mm to 1" or Betacam SR We love early B6kW 6k 
Kodachrome. Scene-by-scene only. Correct frame 
rates. For appointment call (978) 948-7985. 

DIGITAL EFFECTS & TITLES, 3D animation, 
CGI, compositing, all created using state 01 the art 
software. All effects are film resolution or broadcast 
quality. New facility opening in Los Angeles offering 
unbeatable rates that is well worth the call. Ron 
(818) 819-7961; MMDIGITALl@aol.com 

DOWNTOWN PRODUCTION OFFICE for rent, 
400 sq. tt., 4-line phone system w voicemail, separate- 
tax line, copier, TV/VCR, cable. We cater to inde- 
pendent film videomakers. Broadway Houston area. 
Weekly monthly. High Voltage Productions at (212) 
295-7878. 

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motion FX. Batch digitizing incl. DV cameras. 
Scanner, color printer AfterEffectS, Photoshop, 
Quark, Sound Edit 16 Deck2 etc $250/day « tech 
support. Welcome independents, student films, docs, 
musk videos, demo reels, public access, multimedia, 
web designers, etc. Exp editor 6si cameraman w/ 
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NOTICES 

[independent@aivf.org] 



notices of relevance to aivf members are 
y listed free of charge as space permits. 

■ the independent reserves the right to 
edit for length. limit submissions to 60 
words and indicate how long info will be 
current. deadline: 1st of the month, two 
months prior to cover date (e.g., april 1 for 
june issue). complete contact info (name, 
mailing address & telephone) must accompany 
all notices. send to: independent notices. five 
304 hudson st., 6th fl, ny, ny 10013. we try to be 
as current as possible, but double-check 
before submitting tapes or applications. 

Competitions 

GORDON PARKS INDEPENDENT FILM 
AWARDS tor achievement by black independent 
filmmakers, introduced bv IFFM in assoc. w Viacom 
Inc. — a collaboration of several divisions spearhead- 
ed bv MTV Films and including Nickelodeon 
Movies, Paramount Pictures and Showtime 
Networks. Two winners in screenwriting 6k directing 
categories receive $10,000 and have opp. to discuss 
distribution w/ one of Viacom's divisions. Deadlines: 
May 22 & June 12. Contact: Independent Feature 
Project: (212) 465-8200. 

HEART OF FILM SCREENPLAY COMPETI- 
TION: Call tor entries. Two cats: feature-length 
adult mature themes &. feature-length children fam- 
ily themes. Awards: 54,000 in cash; participation in 
Heart of Film Mentorship Program; air fare (up to 
S500) & accomodations to attend Heart of Film 
Screenwriters Conference Oct. 1-4; & Heart of Film 
Bronze Award. Entry fee: S35. Deadline: May 15. For 
info: 1 -800-3 10-FEST; austinfilm(§ aol.com; 
<www.austinfilmfestival.org> 

LAUGHING HORSE PRODUCTIONS, Seattle- 
based company, holding screenplay contest. Winner 
awarded S500. Entry fee: $35. Possibility of having 
script optioned and sent to major agents, producers 
6x directors. Deadline: June 15. For more info or an 
application, send SASE to: Laughing Horse 
Productions, Box 46926, Seattle, WA 98146; (206) 
762-5525; fax: 768-9778; lhfilm@aol.com 

Conferences • Workshops 

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS offer 
seminars on "Copyright Basics," "Not-for-profit 
Incorporation and Tax Exemption" & more. 
Reservations must be made: (212) 319-2910. 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE accepting 
entries for its ongoing program, The Alternative 
Screen: A Forum for Independent Film Exhibition 
and Beyond. Send submissions on 1/2" VHS tape. 
Feature-length independent films, doc 6x new media 
projects wanted. 1800 N. Highland, Suite 717, L.A., 
CA 90028. For more info, call (213) 466-FILM. 

ASHLAND CABLE ACCESS seeks video shows. 



VHS, S-VHS & 3/4° OK, any length or genre. For 
return, incL sufficient SASE. Send w description ex 
release to: Su:i Aufderheide, Southern Oregon State 
College, RVTV 1250 Siskiyou Blvd.. Ashland, OR 
97520; (541) 552-6898. 

AUSTIN, TX, ind. producer offering cable access 
venue to showcase ind. films 6x videos, all genres ex 
subjects. Shorts ex. music videos linked by discussions 
on ind. films. Films/videos running longer than 40 
min. may be aired in series of 2 consecutive shows. 
Send release ex into about film/filmmaker. 1 4" ex 3 4" 
preferable. No payment, but credit 6k exposure. 
James Shelton, Tex-Cinema Productions, Box 3633, 
Austin, TX 78764-3633; (512) 867-9901. 

AXLEGREASE, Buffalo cable access program of ind. 
film 6k video, accepting all genres under 28 min., 
1/2", 3/4", 8mm, Hi8. Send labeled w/ name, address, 
title, length, additional info 6k SASE for tape return 
to: Squeaky Wheel, 175 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 
14201; (716) 884-7172, wheel(« freenet.buffalo.edu; 
http://freenet.buffalo.edu/~wheel 

BALLYHOO!: Central Florida TV show featuring 
independent film and filmmakers is accepting films & 
videos under 30 min. Hour-long community access 
show produced by Frameworks Alliance, a nonprofit 
organization that also produces the Central Florida 
Film & Video Festival. Each Ballyhoo! episode aired 
twice weekly for one month to over 700,000 viewers. 
Submit VHS tape and return postage to Frameworks 
Alliance, c/o Thor Neureiter at 1906 E. Robinson St. 
Orlando, FL 32803; (407) 839-6045; fax (407) 898- 
0504. 

BLACK BOOT MEDIA PROJECT of Perry 
County Ind. Media Arts Center seeks ind. film & 
video W'Orks for regular series of roving screenings at 
various industrial, commerical & residential venues 
in Philadelphia & Harrisburg area. Submit S-8, 
16mm, VHS or S-VHS w/ SASE to: PCIMAC, Lower 
Bailey Rd., RR2-Box 65, Newport, PA 17074. For 
info contact: Jeff Dardozzi (215) 545-7884. 

BLACKCHAIR PRODUCTIONS accepting video, 
film and computer-art submissions on an ongoing 
basis for monthly screening program called 
"Independent Exposure." Artists will be paid an 
Honorarium. Looking for experimental, erotic, narra- 
tive, subversive, animation 6k documentary works, 
but will screen anything. Submit a VHS, clearly 
labeled with name, title, length, phone number along 
w/ SASE if you wish the work(s) to be returned. 
Send submissions to: Blackchair Productions, 2318 
Second Ave., #313-A, Seatle, WA, 98121. 
Info/details: (206)977-8281, joeal(« speakeasy.org; 
www.speakeasy.org/blackchair. 

BURLE AVANT curating "530 Lines of 
Resolution," digital video art night at Den of Thieves 
on Lower East Side in NYC. Video artists encouraged 
to submit works; no entry fees required. Send NTSC 
VHS tapes under 15 min. by UPS or hand deliver to: 
530 Lines of Resolution, c/o The Outpost, 1 18 North 
11 St., 4th fl, Brooklyn, NY 11211; (718) 599-2385 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Travelling exhibition 
& illustrated critical anthology about racial and sex- 
ual indeterminacy, tall 1999. Send slides, abstracts, 
resume or cv and SASE to Erin Valentino, Dept. of 
Art & Art History, University of Connecticut, 875 



Coventry Rd. U-99, Storrs, CT 06269; (860) 486- 
3930; fax: 486-3869; evalentino(o finearts.sfa. 

uconn.edu 

CINEMATOGRAFIA PRODUCTIONS ac- 
cepting shorts and works-in-progress seeking distri- 
bution or exposure to financial resources for 
CLIPS, quarterly showcase presented to invited 
audience of industry pros. Deadline: on-going. 
Contact: Lou Flees, (212) 971-5846; I 
microedge.com. 

DANCE ON VIDEO wanted for Spirit of Dance, 
live 1-hr monthly program covering all types & 
aspects of dance. Under 5 min. or excerpts from 
longer works. S-VHS preferred. Call producers at 
(508) 430-1321, 759-7005; fax: 398-4520. 
Contact: Ken Glazebrook, 656 Depot St., 
Harwich, MA 02645. 

DOMESTIC HOME VIDEO LABEL seeks films 
of all genres for possible distribution. Send VHS 
screening tapes and press kits to: Screen Pix Home 
Video, Attn: David Eddy, 172 Honeywell Corners 
Rd., Broadaldin, NY 12025. 

DUTV-CABLE 54, progressive, nonprofit access 
channel in Philadelphia, seeks works by indie pro- 
ducers. All genres 6k lengths considered. No pay- 
ment. Will return tapes. VHS, S-VHS & 3/4" 
accepted. Contact: George McCollough or Maria 
Elena, DUTV-Cable, 54 Drexel Univ., 33rd 6k 
Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19104; (215) 895- 
2927; dutv(a post.drexel.edu; duvm.ocs. drexel. 
edu — dutv. 

ESTABLISHED NONPROFIT GALLERY 

reviewing membership appls. Benefits: local, 
national, int'l exhibition opportunities curating 6k 
arts mgmt. experience, participation in a dynamic 
professional network. Categories: local, national, 
video/performance. Submit 16-20 slides, video, 
vitae, SASE: Membership Chair, A.R.C. Gallery, 
1040 W Huron, Chicago, IL 60622. 

EXHIBIT YOUR FILMS AT GRAND ILLU- 
SION! Seattle's Northwest Film Forum seeks 
16mm 6k 35mm shorts (60 min. or less) for ongo- 
ing exhibition. Selected works shown before regu- 
lar programming at Seattle's only ind. art house 
theater. Send video 6k SASE to NWFF c/o Grand 
Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St., Seattle, WA 98105. 

FILMMAKERS UNITED, nonprofit org., pre- 
sents monthly film series at Silent Movie Theatre 
in Los Angeles. Year-round venue for ind. short 
films. To submit a film (must have 16mm or 35 mm 
print for screening 6k be no longer than 40 min.,) 
send a 1/2" video copy w/ SASE to: Filmmakers 
United, 1260 N. Alexandria Ave., LA, CA 90029; 
(213)427-8016. 

FUNNY SHORTS: seeking submissions of funny 
short films for new syndicated TV show. Shorts 
may be on film or video 6k must be no longer than 
20 min. Students, amateurs 6k professionals wel- 
come. Cash 6k prizes will be awarded tor films cho- 
sen for broadcast. Tapes not returnable. Send 
entries on VHS to: Funny Shorts c/o Vitascope, 
Box 24981, New Orleans, LA 70184-4981. 

GAY MEN'S HEALTH CRISIS seeks short 
videos (10 min or less) for Living With AIDS, halt- 



52 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



hr magazine weekly seen in Manhattan, Queens & 
Brooklyn, produced by GMHC & NYC Dept. of 
Health. No budget tor licensing programs, but 
opportunity to be seen by millions. VHS or 3/4" 
tapes (no originals) must deal w/ HIV/AIDS issues, 
or present person(s) infected/affected by HIV/AIDS 
in positive way. May not be sexually explicit. All 
tapes returned. Send to: Kristen Thomas, Living 
with AIDS Showcase of Independent Video, GMHC 
Multimedia Dept., 129 W. 20th St., NY, NY 10011; 
(212) 337-3655. 

HANDI-CAPABLE IN THE MEDIA seeks videos 
of any length about people with disabilities. 
Programs will air on Atlanta's Cable 12. No tees, 
however credit ekexposure to large viewing audi- 
ence. VHS preferred, S-VHS, 3/4" acceptable. 
Sharon Douglas, Handi-Capable in the Media, Inc., 
2625 Piedmont Rd., Suite 56-H7, Atlanta, GA 
30324. 

IN SHORT, a 1/2-hr program that airs bi-monthly, 
seeks submissions tor public access show in NY. 
Preference given to works created w/ digital video. 
On every 4th program, work produced by or featur- 
ing women highlighted. Works up to 28 mm., sub- 
mitted on VHS tor preview, available in 3/4". Send 
sub. to: In Short, 240 Ea>t 27th St., Suite 17N, NY, 
NY 10016; (212)689-0505. 

INNOVATIVE WORKS ABOUT RECYCLING 

for June show in Boulder, CO. 1-min piece-- tor 
installation & short-length works tor screening 
series. Send VHS tapes w/ SASE to: Box 1220, 
Canal Street Station, NY, NY 10012. 

KINOFIST IMAGEWORKS seeks work o< ill 
kinds for screenings & distribution within the under- 
ground community. DIY, exp. ek activist work 
encouraged. Send VHS, SASE to Kinotist 
Imageworks, Box 1102, Columbia, MO 65205; 
dmwF92(3 hamp.hampshire.edu 

KNITTING FACTORY VIDEO LOUNGE seeks 

VHS tapes tor on-going weekly series of theme- 
based screenings. Any genre or subject. Send tape w 
briet bio to: Lisa DiLillo, Box 1220 Canal St. Station, 
NY, NY, 10012. If tape return desired, include self- 
addressed envelope w sufficient postage. 

LO BUDJIT FILMZ AND VIDEOS seeks submis- 
sions for VHS or Less, show focusing on camcorder 
movies. Embarass old friends, showcase your dusty 
old tapes. Large bi-coastal audience. Send to: Lo 
Budjit, 147 Ave A, BoxlR NY, NY 10009; (212) 
533-0866. 

MEMORY, PLACE & MANIPULATION OF 

TIME: short works wanted which explore these con- 
cepts for three-part screening installation in NYC. 
Send VHS tapes w/ SASE to: Laurie Brown, Box 
1220 Canal Street Station, NY, NY 10012; vid- 
lounge(S aol.com. 

NATIONAL COLLEGE TELEVISION NET- 
WORK: producers seek creative programming, stu- 
dent film & video, animation, music videos ck/or 
clips of indie bands. Select entries will be broadcast 
nationally & bands may be invited to perform live for 
a studio audience. Contact: Burly Bear Network, 
254 West 54th St., New York, NY 10019; (212) 293- 
0770; fax 293-0771; burlybear«i burlybear.com; 
www.burlybear.com 



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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TELEVISION 

seeking story proposals from U.S. citizen or perma- 
nent resident minority filmmakers for National 
Geographic Explorer, award-winning doc series. To 
request appl. for CDP (Cultural Diversity Project), 
call: (202) 862-8637. 

NEW BREED FESTIVAL seeks student/ind. 
shorts-narrative only-for bi-monthly cafe screenings 
in Lambertville, NJ 6k on NJ &. PA public access. 
Send 1/2" VHS + info w/ SASE to New Breed, 217 
N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ 08530. 

NEW YORK FILM BUFFS: film society promoting 

indie films seeks 16mm 6* 35mm features, shorts & 
animation for ongoing opinion-maker screenings 
during fall & winter seasons. Send submission on 
VHS tape w/ SASE to: New York Film Buffs, 318 W. 
15th St., New York, NY 10011; (212)807-0126. 

NORTH CAROLINA VISIONS series calls for 
entries. No entry fee. Contact: Anita Harris 
Alexander, NC Visions, Fayetteville/Cumberland 
Arts Council, Box 318, Fayetteville, NC 28302; tele- 
phone (910) 323-1776, fax (910) 323-1727 ore-mail 
artscncl(g foto.infi.net 

OCULARIS: New screening room seeks 16mm 
shorts for regular screenings in East Village/ 
Williamsburg area of NYC, particularly by local film- 
makers. Please call or send SASE for info: Ocularis, 
91 N. 4th St., #3R, Brooklyn, NY 11211; (718) 388- 
8713. 

REAL TV looking for dynamic videos: news, weath- 
er, sports, bloopers, busts, "caught in the act." Real 
TV, syndicated, daily video magazine, will showcase 
compelling videos from around the world — from 
professionals as well as amateurs who capture video 
snapshots of life in the 90s. Tapes will not be 
returned. Contact: Real TV, Hollywood Center 
Studios, Stage 2, 1040 N. Las Palmas, Los Angeles, 
CA 90038; (213)860-0100. 

SUDDEN VIDEO call for entries. Ind. curators 
seek short works. Looking for experimental works 
that approximate emotional tone of events that 
inspired their production. Works should be under 10 
min. long & be available on videotape for exhibi- 
tion/distribution. Send submissions on VHS &. 
SASE to: Gort/Raad, 17 Edward Ave., 
Southampton, MA 01073. 

TIGRESS PRODUCTIONS seeking 8mm or S-8 
footage of 42nd St. /Times Square area from 1960s & 
70s for doc. All film returned, some paid, film credit. 
Contact: June Lang (212) 977-2634. 

UNDERGROUND CINEMA seeks entertaining 
short films for promotional video showcasing new 
black talent. If your short is selected, UC will help 
finance your next project. Call (212) 426-1723. 

UNQUOTE TV: 1/2 hr nonprofit program dedicat- 
ed to exposing innovative film 6k video artists, seeks 
ind. doc, narrative, exp, performance works under 28 
min. Seen on over 60 cable systems nationwide. 
Send submissions to: Unquote TV, c/o DUTV, 33rd 
& Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19104; (215) 
895-2927. 

VIDEO/FILM SHORTS wanted for local televi- 
sion. Directors interviewed, tape returned with audi- 
ence feedback. Accepting VHS/SVHS, 15 min. max. 



54 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



SASE to: Box 1042, Nantucket, MA 02554; (508) 
325-7935. 

VIDEOSPACE AT DECORDOVA MEDIA 
ARTS ARCHIVE: DeCordova Museum & 
Sculpture Park seeks VHS copies of video art & doc- 
umentation of performance, installation art & new 
genres from New England artists for inclusion in new 
media arts archive. Send for info & guidelines: 
Videospace at DeCordova, DeCordova Museum, 51 
Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln, MA 01773-2600. 

VIDEOSPACE BOSTON seeks creative videos for 
fall & spring programming. Any genre &. length. 
Nonprofit/no payment. Send VHS, Hi-8, or 3/4" 
with description, name, phone &. SASE to: 
Videospace, General Submissions, 9 Myrtle St., 
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. 

Opportunities • Gigs 



SHORT-TERM ARTISTS RESIDENCY PRO- 
GRAM sponsored by Illinois Arts Council, provides 
funding for Illinois nonprofit organizations to work 
w/ professional artists from Illinois to develop & 
implement residency programs that bring arts activi- 
ties into their community. Each residency lasts from 
1 to 5 days or the hourly equivalent. The IAC will 
support 50% of the artist's fee (min of $250 a day 
plus travel; the local sponsor must provided remain- 
ing 50% plus other expenses. Applications must be 
received at least 8 weeks prior to residency starting 
date. IAC encourages artists to seek sponsors & ini- 
tiate programs. Call for availability of finds. IAC, 100 
W. Randolph, Suite 10-500, Chicago, IL 60601; 
(312) 814-6750; fax: 814-1471; ilarts(§ art-wire.org. 

ARTSTN-EDUCATION RESIDENCY PRO- 
GRAM, sponsored by Illinois Arts Council, provides 
support to primary &. secondary educational institu- 
tions, community colleges, & nonprofit local & com- 
munity organizaitons for artist residencies lasting 
one week to 8 months. Residencies use individual 
artists, performing arts companies or folklorists. To 
be considered for the Residency Program, artists 
must apply to be included in the AIE Residency 
Program Artists Roster. Decision for inclusion are 
based upon quality of work submitted, record of pro- 
fessional achievement and activity, and teaching 
and/or residency experience. Deadline: Spring 1998. 
Contact: Illinois Arts Council, 100 W. Randolph, 
Suite 10-500, Chicago, IL 60601; (312)814-4990; 
ilarts(5 artswire.org 

Publications 

ART ON FILM DATABASE wants to know: Have 
you produced film, video or video disc on visual arts? 
Send info on prod, to Program for Art on Film 
Database, computer index to over 19,000 prods. 
Interested in prods on all visual arts topics. Welcome 
info on prods about artists of color & multicultural 
art projects. Send info to: Art on Film at Columbia 
University, 2875 Broadway, 2nd fl., NY, NY 10025; 
(212) 854-9570; fax: 854-9577. 

DATABASE & DIRECTORY OF LATIN 
AMERICAN FILM & VIDEO organized by Int'l 
Media Resources Exchange seeks works by Latin 
American &. US Latino ind. producers. To send work 



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1998 Call for Entries 



The Cinema Arts Centre (1973-1998), 

Long Island's Premiere Regional 

Showcase for Independent Film, 

is seeking entries for: 

June 12-14 

The 2nd Annual 

U.S Independent and 

International Film and 

Video Festival 

Phone (800) 423-761 1 for entry forms 

Latino Film and Video Festival 

(date to be announced) 

Send VHS screening tapes and promo- 
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return of materials is requested, please 
enclose a self-addressed postpaid mailer. 



Cinema Arts Centre 

P.O. Box 498 • 423 Park Ave. 
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Huntington, NY 1 1743-0498 
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ous tax exemptions available in NY state for film, 
television &. commercial production. Put together by 
the Empire State Development Corp., the 51 -page 
reference guide can be obtained by contacting NY 
State Governor's Office or the Tax Office. NY State 
Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television 
Development, 633 3rd Ave., 33rd Floor, New York, 
XV 10017-6706; (212) 803-2330; fax: 803-2369; 
www.empire.state.ny.us/ mptv.htm 

FILMMAKER'S RESOURCE: A new Watson- 
Guptill publication by Julie Maclcaman. A veritable 
"supermarket of great opportunities - more than 1 50 
of them - for a wide variety ot filmmakers. ..from fea- 
ture to documentary to educational to animated 
films." Conact: Watson-Guptill, Amphoto, Whitney 
Library of Design, Billboard Books, 1515 B'way, New 
York, NY 10036. 

INTERNATIONAL FILM FINANCING CON- 
FERENCE transcripts now : available. Topics dis- 
cussed by international financiers, commissioning 
editors and producers include: Foreign TV as a 
Source for Funding, Interntional Distributors, 
Finding US Dollars and How to Pitch Your Idea. 
J Send S41 to IFFCON, 360 Ritch St., San Francisco, 
J CA 94107. Phone (415) 281-9777. 

MEDIA MATTERS, Media Alliance's newsletter, 
provides comprehensive listings of New York area 

| events & opportunities for media artists. For a free 
copy, call Media Alliance at (212) 560-2919 or visit 

| their web site at http:w-ww.mediaalliance.org. 

IMEDIAMAKER HANDBOOK: THE ULTI- 
MATE GUIDE FOR THE INDEPENDENT PRO- 
DUCER: annual guide published by Bay Area Video 
Coalition. Includes: nat'l & int'l film festival listings, 
distributors, exhibition venues, media funding 
sources, TV broadcast venues, film &. video schools. 
For more info, call: (415) 861-3282 

MEDIANET: Guide to the Internet for Video and 
Filmmakers. Available free at http://www.infi.net/ 
—rriddle medianet.htm, or e-mail rriddle(5 infi.net. 

SUBMISSIONS WANTED: Nonfiction production 
stories from behind the scenes. If you were a grip, 
gaffer, director, actor, extra. ..etc., send in stories for 
publication in upcoming book by industry reporter. 
Will receive a byline. Send to: LeftCoast(n juno.com, 
or Stories. 4064 W. 2nd St., L.A., CA 90004. 

TEACHERS MEDIA CENTER dedicated to edu- 
cators interested in video technology as learning tool 
in the classroom. Latest project is setting up nat'l & 
int'l video pen pal exchanges; would like to hear from 
interested schools, individuals, or organirations. Also 
interested in creating nat'l network of educators 
interested in any or all aspects of growing multimedia 
&. media literacy movements in education. Contact: 
Teachers Media Center, 158 Beach 122nd St., 
Rockaway Beach, NY 11694; (718) 634-3823. 

UFVA JOURNAL OF FILM & VIDEO seeking 
written reviews of University Film & Video 
Association member hlm> tor possible inclusion in 



56 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



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feature filmmakers, animators, experi- 
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find the Association of Independent 
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journal. Approx. 5 double-spaced pages. E-mail to: 
lerickson3t" aol.com; or call or write to: (978) 665- 
3545; Fitchhurg State College, Dept. of 
Communications Media, 160 Pearl Street, Fitchhurg, 
MA 01420. 

Resources • Funds 

AVID FEATURE FILM CAMP: Digital media 
accepting submission for its 1998 Avid Feature Film 
Camp. Camp otters nonlinear postproduction free of 
charge on feature films tor filmmakers. Students, 
under the supervision of an experienced feature edi- 
tor, participants learn post production of multiple 
Avid Media Composer systems. Four films will he 
accepted in 1998. Principal photography & transfer 
must be completed on feature length film (70+ min). 
Can be either doc or narrative. Contact: Jaime 
Fowler, AFFC Director, (503) 297-2324; www.dmec. 
com camp 

BOSTON FILM/VIDEO FOUNDATION seeks 
proposals for fiscal sponsorship from ind. producers. 
No deadline or genre restrictions. Reviewed on ongo- 
ing basis. Contact BFVF for brochure: Cherie Martin, 
1126 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02215; (617) 536- 
1540; fax: 536-3576; bfrf@aol.com. 

CALIFORNIA ARTS COUNCIL offers various 
grants 6k programs tor tilm & mediamakers. Contact: 
California Arts Council, 13001 I St., Suite 930, 
Sacramento, CA 95814; (916) 322-6555; (800) 201- 
6201; fax: (916) 322-6575; cac@cwo.comj www.cac. 
ca.gov 

CHECKERBOARD FOUNDATION awards 
$5,000 to 10,000 for video projects to NY State resi- 
dents w previosuly completed video work. Contact: 
Checkerboard Foundation, Box 222, Ansonia 
Station, NY, NY 1002 V 

CREATIVE PROJECT GRANTS: Subsidized use 
of VHS, interformat 6k 3/4" editing suite tor ind. cre- 
ative projects. Doc, political, propaganda, promotion- 
al 6k commercial projects are not eligible. 
Editor/instructor avail. Video work may be done in 
combination w/ S-8, Hi8, audio, performance, pho- 
tography, artists, hooks, etc. Studio includes Amiga, 
special effects, A6kB roll, transfers, dubbing, etc. 
Send SASE tor guidelines to: The Media Lott. 727 
6th Ave., NY NY 10010; (212) 924-4893. 

EXPERIMENTAL TELEVISION CENTER pro- 
vides grants and presentation funds Co electronic 
media/film artists and organizations. The program 
provides partial assistance; maximum amount varies. 
Presentations must be open to the public; limited- 
enrollment workshops 6k publicly supported educa- 
tional institutions ineligible. Applications reviewed 
monthly. Contact: Program Director, Experimental 
Television Center, 109 Lower Fairfield Rd., Newark 
Valley, NY 13811; (607) 687-4341. 

ILLINOIS ARTS COUNCIL (IAC) SPECIAL 
ASSISTANCE ARTS PROGRAM: Matching 
grants of up to $1,500 avail, to IL artists for specific 
projects. Activities that may be funded: registration 
fees 6k travel to attend conferences, seminars, or 
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impact of proposed project on artist's professional 
development. Appls must be received at least 8 wks 
prior to project starting date. Degree students not 
eligible. (312)814-6750. 

INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE con- 
siders proposals for new, innovative programs & lim- 
ited series for public TV on an ongoing basis. No fin- 
ished works or applications for development. 
Contact: ITVS, 51 Federal St., Suite 401, San 
Francisco, CA 94107; (415)356-8383. 

INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY ASSO- 
CIATION OFFERS KODAK PRODUCT 
GRANT. No deadline for 1998 submissions. 
Applicants must be IDA members residing in U.S. 
Full-time students not eligible. Only documentary 
and nonfiction projects may apply. Project's proposal 
must be accepted in IDA's Fiscal sponsorship pro- 
gram with the original video budget. For more info., 
contact Grace Ouchida at IDA: (310)284-8422. 

MATCHLNG GRANT FOR RESTORATION 

offered by VidiPax. VidiPax will match 20% of fund- 
ing received from govt., foundation or corporate 
funding agency. Individual artists need non-profit fis- 
cal sponsorship to apply. Video & audiotape restora- 
tion must be performed at VidiPax. Contact: Dara 
Meyers-Kingsley, (212) 563-1999, xlll. 

MEDIA ALLIANCE assists NYC artists & nonprof- 
it organizations in using state-of-art equipment, 
postprod. & prod, facilities at reduced rates. 
Contact: Media Alliance, c/o WNET, 356 W. 58th 
St., NY, NY 10019; (212) 560-2919. 

NAATA COMPLETION FUND: National Asian 
American Telecommunications Association 
announces April 24 & August 25 as new application 
deadlines for '98 Open Door Completion Fund. 
Awards avg. $40,000 for use as final post-prod, 
monies toward film/video projects w/ national public 
TV broadcast potential. Contact: Charles McCue, 
NAATA Media Fund, 346 9th St., San Francisco, 
CA 94103; (415) 863-0814; fax: 863-7428; 
www.naatanet.org 

NEW LIBERTY PRODUCTIONS* "IN ASSO- 
CIATION WITH" awards emerging and estab- 
lished media artists &. community producers up to 30 
days free access &. training in the use of Immix 
VideoCube to edit &. master independent works that 
conribute to cultural understanding & to the quality 
of life in Philadelphia. Shooting must be completed 
&. maker must be ready to edit within one month of 
notification. Call: 9215) 387-2296 

NEXT WAVE FILMS, funded by Independent Film 
Channel, offers finishing funds of up to $100,000 for 
up to four films/year. Budgets must be under 
$200,000. Contact: Mark Stolaroff, Next Wave 
Films, 2510 7th St., Suite E, Santa Monica, CA 
90405; (310) 392-1720; paradigm® earthlink.net. 

PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICA- 
TIONS provides grants for development of nat'l 
public TV broadcast programming by &. about 
indigenous Pacific Islanders. Appls available from: 
PIC, 1221 Kapiolani Blvd., #6A-4, Honolulu, HI 
96814; (808) 591-0059; fax: 591-1114; 
piccomfa elele.peacesat.hawaii.edu. 

PACIFIC PIONEER FUND offered by Film Arts 



58 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



Foundation to documentary filmmakers living in 
California, Oregon & Washington. Limited to orga- 
nizations certified as public charities which control 
selection of individual recipients 6k supervise their 
projects. Grants range from $l,000-$8,000 with 
approx. $75,000 awarded annually. For proposal 
summary sheet, send SASE to: Film Arts 
Foundation, 346 Ninth St., 2nd FL, San Francisco, 
CA 94103, or call: (415)454-1133. 

PANAVISION'S NEW FILMMAKER PRO- 
GRAM provides 16mm camera pkgs. to short, non- 
profit film projects of any genre, including student 
thesis films. Contact: Kelly Simpson, New 
Filmmaker Program, Panavision, 6219 DeSoto Ave., 
Woodland hills, CA 91367-2601; (818) 316-1000 
x220;fax: (818) 316-1111. 

PEN WRITERS FUND & FUND FOR WRIT- 
ERS & EDITORS WITH AIDS. Emergency 
funds, in form of grants 6k interest-free loans of up 
to $1,000 given each year to over 200 professional 
literary writers, including screenwriters, facing 
financial crisis. PEN's emergency funds are not 
intended to subsidize writing projects. Contact: 
PEN AMercian Center, 568 Broadway, NY, NY 
10012-3225; (212) 334-1660. 

PRODUCTION GRANT PROGRAM, spon- 
sored by LA Film Collaborative, provides produc- 
tion assistance, industry recognition 6k professional 
script coverage. Projects must be budgeted under $1 
million and have first or second time director/pro- 
ducer team. Deadline: April 17. For application, 
contact: LA Film Collaborative, (213) 937-9155. 



RESIDENCIES supports US organizations to host 
artists 6k arts managers, known as ArtsLink Fellows, 
from Central 6k Eastern Europe. ArtsLink 
Residencies grants provide funding to cover the liv- 
ing, working, and materials costs for the five-week 
residency, as well as modest administrative expenses 
for the host organization. Grant amounts will gener- 
ally range from $4,000 to $5,000. Deadline for appli- 
cation: June 9, 1997. 

ROY W DEAN VIDEO GRANT sponsored by 
Studio Film 6k Tape, Mazell Tape 6k Hollywood Film 
Institute awards $40,000 in goods 6k services to doc. 
filmmaker for project that is "unique and makes a 
contribution to society." Roy W Dean Video Grant, 
Studio Film 6k Tape, 1215 N. Highland Ave., 
Hollywood, CA 90038; (213) 760-0900 ext. 864; fax: 
463-2121; www.sftweb .com 

SOROS DOCUMENTARY FUND supports int'l 
doc. films and videos on current 6k significant issues 
in human rights, freedom of expression, social justice 
6k civil liberties. Three project categories considered 
for funding: initial seed funds (grants up to $15,000), 
projects in preproduction (grants up to $25,000), pro- 
jects in production or postproduction (average grant 
is $25,000, but max. is $50,000). Highly competitive. 
Proposals reviewed quarterly. For more info., contact: 
Soros Documentary Fund, Open Society Institute, 
400 W 59th St., NY, NY 10019; (212) 548-0600. 

SPECIAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS offered by the 
Illinois Arts Council. Matching funds of up to $1,500 
to Illinois artists for specific projects. Examples of 
activities funded are registration tees 6k travel tor 
conferences, seminars, workshops; consultants lees 



for the resolution of a specific artistic problem; 
exhibits, performances, publications, screenings; 
materials, supplies or services. Funds awarded based 
on quality of work submitted 6k impact ot proposed 
project on artist's professional development. 
Applications must be received at least 8 weeks prior 
to project starting date. Call for availability of funds. 
Illinois Arts Council, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 10-500, 
Chicago, IL 60601; (312) 814-6570 toll-free in IL 
(800) 237-6994; ilarts@artswire.org 

STANDBY PROGRAM provides artists 6k nonprof- 
its access to broadcast quality video postprod. services 
at reduced rates. For guidelines 6k appl. contact: 
Standby Program, Box 184, NY, NY 10012-0004; 
(212) 219-0951; fax: 219-0563. 

THE JOHN D 6k CATHERINE T. 
MACARTHUR FOUNDATION provides partial 
support ot selected doc series 6k films for national or 
int'l broadcast 6k focusing on an issue within one of 
Foundation's two major programs (Human 6k 
Community Development; Global Security 6k 
Sustainability)- Send 2- to 3-page letter to: John D. 6k 
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 140 S. 
Dearborn St., #1100, Chicago, IL 60603; (312) 726- 
8000; 4answers(« macfdn.org;www.macfdn.org 



JOIN AIVF 



THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT 
VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 



Resources, strong connections, and the 

best information available. Join with 

more than 5,000 other independents who 

consider AIVF vital to their 

professional lives. 



THE INDEPENDENT FILM & VIDEO 
MONTHLY 



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PANELS AND SEMINARS 
ADVOCACY* INSURANCE 



TRADE DISCOUNTS 
CONFERENCE/SCREENING ROOM 



MEMBERSHIP STARTS AS LOW AS $25 - JOIN 

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1998 Call For Entries 




LONG ISLAND 
FILM FESTIVAL 

15 tn Annual Film/Video Festival 

Staller Center for the Arts 

University at Stony Brook 

July 18- August 1, 1998 

Call or Write for Entry Forms (Due 5/1/98) 
Long Island Film Festival 

c/o PO Box 13243 

Hauppauge, NY 11788 

1-800-762-4769 • 516-853-4800 
From 10-6, Mon-Fri 

The Long Island Film Festival is co-produced by 

the Staller Center for the Arts, University at Stony Brook 

in association with 

the Suffolk County Motion Picture and Television Commission. 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 59 



Dndie Since 1988 




k'l IPPLE: continued from /)g. 30 
Why? 

What would they cell me? To me, you use interviews when you absolutely need them. Or you 
use interviews when the person you're interviewing is so alive that it's like you're listening and 
can visualize what's happening. 1 had something of seeing him in action, seeing him move from 
place to place and moment to moment. I didn't need any interviews to stop the action and tell 
you what he was thinking or have somebody surmise why he was doing something. I had him. 
And nothing to me was more valuable. 

What was the budget? 

Not much. A million, maybe, or a little under. 

Let's move on to the Woodstock documentary, Generations. I understand that the film started with the 
Woodstock organizers and eventually evolved into a 'Barbara Kopple project.' 

I started it in February 1994- Woodstock was August 1994. Michael Lang and Yanni 
Sighbatsson — who was then at Propaganda Films; it was owned by Polygram — called me up and 
said, "We're doing this festival, would you like to direct a film on it?" So I met with them, and 
told them how I might do it, and they said, "Fine, goodbye. Go do it." 

And did they say, "Here's the cash"? 

Oh, yeah, they had money. Then in March or April, Polygram, which was the company pro- 
ducing the festival, started getting cold feet about the festival and wanted to pull out. But they 
couldn't because they had an iron- clad contract with Woodstock Ventures, which was the three 
original guys who did Woodstock in '69. So the only thing they could stop, legally, was the film. 
They stopped it. 

But I was too involved in it. I was having too much fun. So I just kept going. Right now, it's 

almost done. It runs about two 
hours. And it's really fun. 



Can you describe the content a bit, 
beyond the concert? 

It's totally within my style of 
shooting a bunch of different 
stories, yet trying to make it 
look very simple. It looks at 
the three original promoters 
who did Woodstock '69, and 
here they are, these guys in 
their fifties, still doing 
Woodstock. It looks inside 
Polygram — at who is taking 
this risk to put on this festival, all the decisions that have to be made, like how many condoms 
will be sold, or who the sponsors are. Ben and Jerry's is out; Haagen Dazs is in. Or what kids 
can bring in to eat. What if someone's mother gives them a turkey sandwich — can they bring 
that in through the fence? Dealing with security, with everything that happens. I had total 
access. 

Did you also document Polygram's relationship with the film? 

No, I never do anything that's connected to me. That's not what the story' is. 

Then I filmed the people of Saugerties, New York, who were totally petrified about having 
people come in. They take up guns and everything else, because they're afraid this generation 
is going to rape or rob them, or whatever. They're totally nuts. But tourism isn't doing well up 
there, and they need the money. They get a percentage of the tickets, and they go along with 
it. So there's that story-. 

Then there's the story of the so-called Generation X — who they are; what their dreams are. 
You get to see their irreverence or cynicism. They call themselves the generation of doubters, 
and that's not so terrible. It also looks at the Boomers, who are no longer on center stage, sort 
of the older generation; and at those in between. It also looks at who we are today and who we 
were 25 years ago; and that's not so different. We're still struggling for a sense of ritual and a 
sense of community. 




60 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



And then, the groups. Any group that 
goes on, you know who they are as people, 
whether it's Porno for Pyros or Santana, Salt- 
n-Peppa or Metallica, Chili Peppers, 
whomever. Henry Rollins, for example, is 
hysterically funny; so is Trent Reznor from 
Nine Inch Nails. Rollins says, "Would I go to 
a concert like this? Are you crazy? Walking 
around the mud, looking for somewhere to 
go to the bathroom, trying to keep dry? Uh- 
uh. Not me. I'm staying at the Marriott." 
Things like that. 

Sounds fun. 

[She groans] 

Maybe the fun is past. 

It is. We're struggling so hard. I really want to 
get it out there. 

Have you had to fundraise for this film like in the 
old days — a few hundred dollars here, a few thou- 
sand there? 

I got a loan. . . well, it's not a loan anymore; 
I got some money from a producer who just 
died recently. And I got a grant from the 
NEA. That's it, from 1994 to now. The rest 
has come from me working on whatever films 
I can to keep it going. It's tearing me apart. 

In what respect? 

The film is really wonderful, and the reason 
people can't come in and say, "Here's the 
money; go finish it" is they'd have to do a 
deal with Polygram for the money that 
Polygram put into it. So that takes forever. 

Given this constant struggle for cash to support 
independent documentary, what do you tell young 
filmmakers who come to you with the question, 
"Should I go into documentary? What are my future 
prospects?" 

I tell them it's something I wouldn't change 
for anything. That for me, it's one of the most 
wonderful things I could have done in my 
life. You really have to struggle and perse- 
vere. And you have to go after your own 
dreams and not be dissuaded, no matter if 
people don't believe in you. There will be 
people there who will help you and believe in 
you. I also tell them to get work with people 
they respect, and then they'll start to meet a 
whole community of people who are some- 
what like-minded who will help them. If you 
feel really strongly about it, go for it. 

Patricia Thomson is editor in chief of The Independent. 




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E-mail: staff@csins.com 

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Millennium 
Campaign Fund 

The Millennium Campagin Fund is a 3 year 
fundraising inititiative to develop a $ 1 50,000 
cash reserve fund for the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film by the year 2000. 
Since its inauguration in March 1997, we 
have raised, at press time, more than 
$55,000. We would like to thank those who 
have so generously donated to the Millennium 
Campaign Fund, (donations received as of 
2/24/98) 

Corporate/Government/Private 
Donors 

New York State Council on the Arts; Home 
Box Office, Jewish Communal Fund 

Honorary Committee Members 

(donations of $500 or moree) 

Ralph Arlyck, John Bard Manulis, Peter Buck 
C-Hundred Film Corp., Hugo Cassirer, Martha 
Coolidge, Nik Ives, Bill Jersey, Richard Kylberg, 
Tom LeGoff, Helaine &. Sidney Lerner, Diane 
Markrow, Leonard Merrill Kurz, David &. Sandy 
Picker, R.E.M./Athens, LLC, James Schamus, 
Robert L. Seigel, Michael Stipe, Liza Vann 
Smith, Miranda Smith, Robert E. Wise 



Friends 

(donations of $100 or more) 

Barbara Abrash, Alan Berliner, Tessa Blake, 
Doug Block, Susan Bodine, Esq., Bob Brodsky, 
Florence Burke, Jeff Bush, Pamela Calvert, 
David Carnochan, Christine Choy, Norman 
Cowie, Keith Crofford, Jonathan Dayton, Helen 
De Michiel, Loni Ding, Aaron Edison, Bill 
Einreinhofer, Cassian Elwes, Fanlight 
Productions, Chris Farina, Valerie Faris, Film 
Forum, Bonnie Finnegan, Kenneth Fishel, Frank 
Frattaroli, Peter Friedman, Patricia Goudvis, 
Barabara Hammer, Henry Hampton, Hal 
Hartley, William Henning, James Herbert, 
Kathy High, Deborah Hoffman, Ted Hope, 
Zuzana Justman, Ticia Kane, Dai Sil Kim- 
Gibson, Michael G. Kindle, Terry Lawler, Ruby 
Lerner, Peter Lewnes, Mark Lipman, Lawrence 
Loewinger, Jason Lyon, Charles MacFarland, 
Jodi Magee, Jim McKay, Robb Moss, Michel 
Negroponte, John O'Brien, October Films, Off 
Shore Pictures, Eloise Payne, Anthony 
Peraticos, Mimi Pickering, Robert Richter, Ross 
S. McElwee, John Schwartz, Vivian Sobchack, 
Buddy Squires, James Stark, George C.Stoney, 
Helen Stritzler, Toni Treadway, Mark Tusk, 
Barton Weiss, Susan Wittenberg,; Lauren 
Zalaznick, Gei Zantzinger 



AIVF Happenings; continued from p. 64 
Dallas, TX 

When: 3rd Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m. 

Where: Call for locations. 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 823-8909 

Denver/Boulder, CO 

When: Call for dates 

Where: Kakes Studio, 2115 Pearl St. 

Contact: Diane Markrow, (303) 449-7125 or Jon 

Stout (303) 442-8445. 

Houston, TX 

When: Last Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m. 
Where: Call for locations. 

Contact: Houston Film Commission Hotline. 
(713) 227-1407 

Kansas City, MO 

When: Second Thursday each month, 7:30 p.m. 
Where: Grand Arts, 1819 Grand Blvd. 
Contact: Rossana Jeran, (816) 363-2249 

New Brunswick, NJ 

Call for date and locations 

Contact: Allen Chou (908) 756-9845 

Norwalk, CT 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Guy Perrotta, (203) 831-8205 

San Diego, CA 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact:: Carroll Blue, (619) 594-6591 

Seattle, WA 

Call for dates and locations. 
Contact: Joel Bachar, (206) 282-3592 

Tucson, AZ 

Call for dates and locations. 

Contact: Beverly Seckinger, (520) 621-1239 

Washington, DC 

Call for dates and times. 

Where: Herb's Restaurant, 1615 Rhode Island 

Ave., NW 

Contact: DC Salon hotline (202) 554-3263 x4. 

Westchester, NY 

Call for date and locations 

Contact: Bob Curtis, (914) 741-2538; 

reel 11(5 aol.com 

Youngstown, OH 

Call for dates and times. 

Contact: Art Byrd, The Flick Clique, 

www.cboss.com/flickclique. 

AIVF Board Minutes 

January 10-11, 1998: The board of directors of 
the Association of Independent Video and Film- 
makers (AIVF) and Foundation for Independent 
Video and Filmmakers (FIVF) met in New York 
on January 10-11, 1998. Attending were Robb 
Moss (Chair), Susan Wittenberg (Vice Presi- 
dent), Robert Richter (Treasurer), Diane 
Markrow (Secretary). Todd Cohen, Barbara 



62 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



Hammer, Laalah Marias, Peter Lewnes, Jim 
McKay, Rick Linklater, Graham Leggat, and Ruby 
Lerner (ex officio). Absent were James Schamus, 
Bart Weiss (Co-President), Loni Ding (Co- 
President). Moss welcomed new AIVF/FIVF 
board members Rick Linklater and Graham 
Leggat. 

FIVF received a grant from the MacArthur 
Foundation and is waiting to hear from the List 
Foundation. (Grant received February 1998) 
Lerner noted that the HBO event for the 
Millennium Campaign Fund was great. The 
Earned Income Report shows an increase in dis- 
play ads and Library subscriptions. Lerner noted 
that in order for the organization to meet its 
financial goals, it must improve its marketing 
efforts. 

The Independent editor Partricia Thomson 
reported on upcoming issues of The Independent. 
The May issue will feature a diary piece on a 
travelling super 8 fest. June will contain an AIVF 
salon roundup. July will once again feature 
experimental media, while August/September 
will be feature film oriented. Spike Lee, Arthur 
Dong, and Judith Helfand have agreed to do tes- 
timonial ads for the Millennium ad campaign. 

Website consultant Tommy Pallotta reported 
that he will test the festival database on the web- 
site along with a filtering system. Future AIVF 
databases will be designed using the festival data- 
base as a model. A fee structure for website use 
has yet to be determined. 

LaTrice Dixon, advocacy assistant, reported 
on the advocacy forum held in Washington DC 
on Digital Broadcast Satellite public interest set- 
asides. Approximately 50-60 people were in 
attendance. The audience consisted mainly of 
independent media makers, librarians, and edu- 
cators. Since the forum, Dixon has received 
approximately 100 requests for follow up infor- 
mation. 

Membership director Leslie Fields reported on 
upcoming AIVF events. She has been in contact 
with Denis Doyan coordinator of the UFVA 
Student Film Festival. They are planning the stu- 
dent salon, which will take place at City College. 

Director of administration Leslie Singer passed 
out the Cash Reserve Fund Resolution for board 
review and approval. She also handed out quotes 
regarding board liability insurance. The board 
agreed to go with the best quote. 

Committee members for the 1998 year are as 
follows: Development: Markrow, McKay, Richter, 
Wittenberg, Leggat, and Matias. Advocacy: 
Hammer, Ding, Lewnes, Lopez. Salon/ 
Technology: Weiss, Cohen, Linklater, and Moss. 
An election committee consisting of Moss and 
Lewnes will work with Fields to help streamline 
the process of the elections. 

The next meeting of the board was set for 
April 4-5 1998. 



The Foundation for Independent Video and Film, the educational affiliate of the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, supports a variety of programs and services for the independent media community, 
including publication of The Independent, workshops, and an information clearinghouse. None of this work 
would be possible without the generous support of the AIVF membership and the following organizations: 

Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Center for Arts Criticism, Heathcote Art Foundation, DC Gimmission on the Arts and 
Humanities, Albert A. List Foundation, John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the 
Arts, New York State Council on the .Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, and Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. 

We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 

Benefactors: Patrons: Sponsors: 

Forest Creatures Entertainment® Pamela Calvert, Mary D. Dorman, C & S, Int'l Insurance Brokers, Inc.; Loni 

Karen Freedman, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Ding; David W Haas, Dr. V HufnagelyWoman's 
Robert L Seigel, Esq.; James Schamus, Cable Network; Jim McKay; Leonard Merrill 
Roger E. Weisberg Kurz Co., Robb Moss; Jodi Piekoff, Julio Riberio, 

J. B. Sass/Letting Go Foundation, George C. 

Stoney, Debra Zimmerman 

Business/Industry Members: 

Antares Research, Santa Fe, NM; Archive Films, Inc., NYC; Anes Productions, Arlington, TX; BIZ TV USA, NYC; 
Blackside, Inc., Boston, MA; Bureau for At-Risk Youdi, Plainview, NY; C &. S International Insurance Brokers, NYC; CK 
Pnxlucuons, NYC; Clinica Estetico, NYC; Ericson Media Inc., NYC; EWE Productions, NYC; Exile Prod., LA, CA; H & 
M Productions, NYC; Henrunger Media Services, Arlington, VA; Hogan Films., Spring, TX; Jes & WxxJcraft Video Prod. 
Inc, Taylor, MI; Koch TV Productions, Cabin John, MD; Laun Enterprises Inc., New Rochelle, NY; LD Media, NYC; 
Letnom Prod., NYC; Lyrick Studios, Ricfuirdson, TX; Joseph McCarthy, Bldyn, NY; Heidi McLean, Evergreen, CO; Media 
Principia, NYC; Marl Morton, Adanta, GA; New Image Productions, Las Vegas, NV; NTV Studio Productions, NYC; 
Opposable Thumb Prod., Inc., NYC; Henrietta S. Parker, East Orange, NJ; Sono Pictures. Inc., NYC; Andrew Stone, NYC; 
Sundance Channel LLC, NYC; Surf &. Turf Films Inc., NYC; Thunder Head Prod., Palm Beach, FLTriune Pictures, NYC; 
Virtual Media, NYC; White Night Prod., San Diego, CA 

Nonprofit Members 

Andy Warhol Fndt., NYC; Ann Arbor Community Access TV Ann .Arbor, MI; Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann 
Arbor, MI; Appalshop, Whitesburs, KY; John Armstrong, Brooklyn, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Athens 
Center for Film ek Video, .Athens, OH; AUCHMUTV-Uruversiry of New Casde, Callaghan, New South Wales; Austin 
Film Society, Austin, TX; Baylor Universirv, Waco, TX; Boston University, r3oston, MA; Carnegie Museums, Pittsburgh, PA; 
CCTV Gimhndye, MA; Center, tor New American Media, NYC; Center for the Arts, Tulsa, OK; Chicago Access Corp., 
Chicago, IL; Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL; Cincinatti Oimmunity Video, Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland Filmmakers, 
Cleveland, OH; Gimnuinicarion Arts, MHCJC, Gresham, OR; G immunity Television Network, Chicago, IL;Copiague 
Memorial Library, Gipiague, NY; Girnell Cinema, Ithaca, NY; Gwenenant House, NYC; Cultural Development Group, 
Miami, FL; Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX; Denver Film Society, Denver; CO; Dept. of Media Studies/SUNY Buffalo, 
Buffalo, NY; Dept. of Communication, The New Schixil, NYC; Documentary Educational Resources, Watertown, MA; 
Patricia Dooley, NYC; Drexel University Library - Senals Dept., Philadelphia, PA; Duke University - Program in Film & 
Video, Durham, NC; DUTV-Cable 54, Pluladelphia, PA; Educational Video Center, NYC; Film Fest New Haven, New 
Haven, CE Fine Arts Division Office, Scottsdale, AZ; Flick Clique, Youngstown, OH; Globe Link Productions, Coral 
Gables, FL; Great Lakes Film &. Video, Milwaukee, WI; Hogskulen I Volda, Norway; Hong Kong Arts Center, Hong Kong, 
China; IFP West, Los Angeles, CA; Image Film Video Center, Adanta, GA; Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN; Institute 
for Public Media Arts, Durham, NC; International Film Seminars, NYC; Jewish Film Fest., Berkeley, CA; John Jay High 
Schixjl, Cross River, NY; Kroma Productions, Porvoo; Laurel Cable Network, Laurel, MD; Long Bow Group Inc., Brookline, 
MA; Manhattan Neighborhood Network, NYC; Maunts Binger Film Institute, NL; Massachusetts College of An, Boston, 
MA; Media Arts, Palatine, IL; Media Resource Center, Adelaide, Australia; Media Resource Center - University of 
Qdrtomia, Berkeley, CA; Media Working Group, Covington, KY; Missoula Community Access, Missoula MT Museum of 
Fine Arts, Housaon, TX; MoMA-Film Study Center, NYC; National Video Resources, NYC; Neighborhood FilnvVideo 
Proj., Philadelphia, PA; New Liberty Prod., Philadelphia, PA; New Rican Filmmakers, NYC; New York Women in Film and 
Television, NYC; Ngee Ann Polytechnic Library, Singapore; Northampton Film Festival, Northampton, MA; NRX/DPH, 
NYC; NYCCHR NYC; Ohio Independent Film Festival, Cleveland, OH; Ohio University - Film, Athens, OH; Dirk Olson, 
Denver; CO; Open Society Institute., NYC; Rochester Film Office, Rochester; NY; Ross Film Theater; Lincoln, NE; Ross- 
Gafney, NYC; Scribe Video Center, Philadelphia, PA; Singapore National Library, Singapore; Sinking Creek Celebration, 
Nashville, TN; South Carolina Arts Commission, Columbia, SC; Squeaky Wheel, Buffalo, NY; Syracuse University, 
Syracuse, NY; Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel; Texas Film Commission, Austin, TX; University of Arizona-Media Arts 
Room, Tucson, AZ; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; University of California Extension - CMIL, Berkeley, CA; 
University of Texas - Dept. of Radio, TV and Film, Austin, TX; Upstate, Films, Rhinebeck, NY; Video Pool., Manitoba, 
Canada; Wexner Center., Columbus, OH; WNET/13, NYC; Women Make Movies, NYC; Worldfest, Houston, TX; 
WTVS Channel 56, Detroit, MI; York University Libraries, North York, Ontario, Canada 



April 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 63 



AIVF //APPENNINGSby Leslie A Fields 



MEMBER NEWS BROADCAST 



I 



ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING 



Come to ATVF's Annual Membership Meeting 
and join with fellow independent media makers to 
discuss the state of the independent community. 
Meet AIVF staff and the AIVF FIVF Board of 
Directors and learn about our upcoming pro- 
grams. We will also honor Third World 
NewsreePs JOth anniversary with a retrospective 
of their work. The meeting is open to all. 
When: Fndav. April 3, 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Manhattan Neighborhood Network, 
537 W. 59th St. (between 10th 6k 11th Ave's.), 
NYC. 

The Annual Membership Meeting is sponsored by 
Community Dental Program, Inc (CDPI) 6k 
Manhattan Neighborhood Network. 

TRADE DISCOUNT UPDATE 

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Peter_Bombar(rt wskg.pbs.org. Contact: Peter 
Bombar. 10-40% off digital audio/video editing, 
production 6k field shooting. Includes audio post- 
production, music, sfx, sound design, surround 
sound automated mixing, full video services with 
Betacam and D3, etc. 

NOT RECEIVING YOUR INDEPENDENT? 

It you have any problems receiving The 
Independent or questions regarding your AIVF 
membership, please call LaTrice Dixon or Marya 
Wethers, (212) 807-1400 x 236. 



AIVF Activities 

Millennium Campaign Fund Benefit: Independent 
Filmmaking inside & outside the studio system 

Are you interested in working with the studio sys- 
tem while still maintaining your independent 
voice.' Then come to this exciting panel seminar 
which includes Kasi Lemmons-Hall(Etc''s Bayou) 
and Vondie Curtis-Hall (Gridlock'd) and is.hosted 
by actor/director Ossie Davis. The panel will dis- 
cuss the triumphs and pitfalls of independent 
filmmaking and provide a unique perspective on 
making films inside and outside of Hollywood. 
All proceeds from this event will go to support the 
Foundation of Independent Video and Film's 
Millennium Campaign Fund. Originally sched- 
uled in March, this event was been postponed 
until a later date. Please call the AIVF-DC 
Hotline for an update: 202-554-3263 x4. 




ANNUAL NYC STUDENT SALON 

Come to AIVF's annual student salon to cele- 
brate student contributions to the independent 
media community and network with other media 
students in the NYC area. There will be a special 
screening of AIVF student member work chosen 
from UVFA's Touring Festival of International 
Student Film 6k Video. Student representatives 
for the AIVF FIVF board will be chosen at this 
time. This event is co-sponsored by the MFA in 
Media Arts Production and the Picker Center of 
the Department of Communications, Film and 
Video at City College. This event is free and open 
to all. RSVP: 212-807-1400 x301 
When: April 7th, 6:00 p.m. 
Where: Shepard Hall rm. 291, City College of 
New York, 145th St. 6k Convent Ave. 

Advocacy Forum: 
Distribution & Exhibition to Public Libraries 
Join AIVF and Libraries for the Future for an 
exciting dialogue between independent media 
makers, librarians, and librarian advocates. 
Panelists will discuss how independent producers 
can use the public library as a distribution 
resource. For more info and to RSVP please call 
the AIVF Event Hotline (212) 807-1400 x301. 
This event is free and open to the public. 
When: Tuesday, June 16, 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 
Where: The Lighthouse, 111 W 59th St. 
(between Lexington 6k Park) 



FILM BYTES 
Stop in every 4th Friday of the month, 9:00 p.m. 
at pseudo.com when AIVF hosts the new web- 
cast series FILM BYTES. Film Bytes is a week- 
ly series of interviews and discussions with a 
variety of industry notables from the indepen- 
dent media community. Film Bytes is co pro- 
duced by Julia Zborovsky of Kinotek and the 
Pseudo Network. 



JO. 




ON LOCATION WITH 

MONTHLY MEMBER 
SALONS 
This is an opportunity 
for members to discuss 
work, meet other independents, share w-ar sto- 
ries, and connect with the AIVF community 
across the country. Note: Since our copy dead- 
line is two months before the meetings listed 
below, be sure to call the local organizers to con- 
firm that there have been no last-minute 
changes. 
Albany, NY 

When: 1st Wednesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Borders Books 6k Music, Wolf Rd. 
Contact: Mike Camoin, (518) 895-5269 
Atlanta, GA 

When: Second Monday of the month, 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Manuel's Tavern (North 6k Highland) 
Contact: Genevieve McGillicuddy, IMAGE 
(402) 352-4225 

Austin, TX 

When: Last Monday of the month, 8 p.m. 
Where: Electric Lounge, 302 Bowie St. 
Contact: Ben Davis, (512) 708-1962 

Boston, MA 

Call tor dates and locations. 

Contact: Susan Walsh, (617) 965-8477 

Brooklyn, NY 

When: 4th Tuesday of each month; call for time 

Where: 0::ie's Coffeehouse, 7th Ave. 6k 

Lincoln PI. 

Contact: Glenn Francis Frontera, (718) 646- 

7533 

Chicago, IL 

When: 4th Tuesday of the month, 6:30 p.m. 

Call for date 6k location 

Contact: Oscar Cervera, (773) 472-1000 

Cleveland, OH 

Call for date and location. 

Contact: Annetta Marion, (216) 781-1755 



Continued <>n p. 62 



64 THE INDEPENDENT April 1998 



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TOTALLY INDEPENDENT 

- Contribute to the Foundation for Independent Video and Film's three year Millennium Campaign Fund which ensures that AIVF/FIVF (publishers ' 
of The Independent) not only survive, but thrive in their mission to serve the growing and diverse independent media community 



Address. 
City 



Enclosed is my gift of independence 
in the amount nf: 



State . 



Zip. 



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Make your check payable to FIVF and return it with this form to FIVF. 304 Hudson St.. 6th Floor. NY. NY 10013. For more information call (212) 807-1400. ext. 223. 
The Foundation for Independent Video and Film is a not-for-profit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible. 




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monthly" 

May 1998 
VOLUME 21, NUMBER 4 

Publisher: Ruby lerner 

Editor in Chief: Patricia Thomson 
leditor@aivf org! 

Managing Editor: Ryan Deussing 
lindependent@aivf.orgl 

Editorial Assistant: Cassandra Uretz 
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Contributing Editors: Lissa Gibbs. Mark J. Huisman, Barbara Bliss 
Osborn, Thomas Pallotta, Rob Rownd. Robert L. Seigel. Esq. 

Art Director: Daniel Christmas 

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The Independent Rim 4 Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is published monthly except 
February and September by the Foundabon for Independent Video and Film (FTVF), a 
nonprofit, tax-exempt educational foundation dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film. Subscription to the magazine ($45/yr individual; $25/yr student; $75/yr library; 
$100/yr nonprofit organization; $150/yr business/industry) is included in annual mem- 
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national trade association of individuals involved in independent film and video, 304 
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Periodical Postage Paid at New York. NY. and at additional mailing offices. 

Publication of The Independent is made possible in part with public funds from the New 
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Publication of any advertisement in The Independent does not constitute an endorsement 
AIVF/FfVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. 

Letters to The Independent should be sent to leditor@aivf.orgl. Letters may be edited for 
length. All contents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent The Independent is indexed in the Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 1998 

AIVF/FTVF staff: Ruby Lemer, executive director: LaTrice Dixon, membership/advocacy 
associate; Leslie Fields, membership coordinator; Jodi Magee, development consultant 
Johnny McNair. information services coordinator; Tommy Pallotta, webmaster. Leslie 
Singer, director of administration: Marya Wethers, membership assistant. 

AIVF/FTVF legal counsel: Robert I. Freedman. Esq., Leavy, Rosensweig & Hyman 

AFVF/TTVF Board of Directors: Todd Cohen*. Loni Ding (co-president), Barbara Hammer, 
Ruby Lemer (ex officio). Graham LeggaL Peter Lewnes, Richard Linklater, Cynthia 
Lopez*, Jim McKay, Diane Markrow (secretary), Laafa Matias", Robb Moss (chair). 
Robert Richter (treasurer). James Schamus*, Barton Weiss (co-president). Susan 
Wittenberg (vice president). 
* RVT Board of Directors only 




4 THE INDEPENDENT May 1998 



MEDIA NEWS 



FIELD REPORTS 



9 Documentaries No More: NYCH Well Runs Dry 22 At Center Rin fr Inside Rotterdam's CineMart 




With the stoppage of 
[^reproduction grants, the 
New York Council on 
the Humanities gets out 
of the film funding busi- 
ness altogether. 

by Mark J. 



12 Want Scripts, Will Pay: 

KASA Reels in Screenwriters with Big Money 

Screenwriters take note: a cool million is up for grabs. 
by Cassandra Uretz 



DISTRIBUTOR F.A.Q. 

13 Vanguard International Cinema 

Budding a business as an indie-friendly home video distributor. 

BY LlSSA GlBBS 



TALKING HEADS 

16 Stan Brakhage, 
Odette Springer & 
Carlos Marcovich 

by Jeremy Springer 
Cara Merte- c* 
Michelle Chase 




A close look at what it's like to pitch your projects at this venera- 
ble indie market. Plus, Rotterdam's quirky sidebars. 

by Howard Feinstein 



28 Have Presskit, Will Travel: The '98 Berlinale. 

A report from the 
floor at the queen of 
European markets for 
independent film. 

by Ryan 
Deussing 




WIRED BLUE YONDER 

41 Online Independents: A Web Guide 

Search AltaVista for "independent film" and what do you get? 
Try 1 5,063 links. Here are the ones you should know about. 

by Kristine Malden 




FESTIVALS 



NOTICES 



CLASSIFIEDS 



AIVF HAPPENINGS 



Cover still from Evil ofDracula, and (left) A Toetally Soleful Feeture Pedsentation. by Super 8 filmmaker Martha Colburn, whose works regularly appear in the Super Super 8 test 

Courtesy filmmaker 



May 1998 THE INDEPENDENT 5 



THE INDEPENDENT FEATURE PROJECT PRESENTS 




THE 20th 

INDEPENDENT TEATURE TlLM IVIaRKET 





September 18-25, 1998 
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Longtime Companion 
Manufacturing Consent: 

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Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision 
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Postcards from America 
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MEDIA NEWS 



EDITED BY RYAN DEUSSING 



NYCH Well Runs Dry 




I 



by Mark J . 

HUISMAN 

From its inception in 1975, the 
New York Council for the Human- 
ities (NYCH) has been one of the 
state's most regular, dependable 
funding sources for documentary 
filmmakers, giving away over $3.8 
million in just over two decades. 
But this support ended last fall, 
when NYCH announced it would 
not offer preproduction grants for 
film and video projects in 1998. As 
NYCH stopped awarding produc- 
tion and postproduction funds in 
1992, this decision officially ends 
the organization's support for new films. 
According to Dr. Jay Kaplan, NYCH's execu- 
tive director since 198C, the decision was 
painful, but necessitated by economic as well 
as political problems. 

"We are a nonprofit organization that was 
set up to give away federal money," says 
Kaplan. "Our purpose is to promote public 
understanding of the humanities, but also to 
create support for the humanities in the gen- 
eral population." The definition of "humani- 
ties" as laid out in the National Foundation 
on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965, the 
federal legislation that originally created the 
NEH and the NEA, includes disciplines like 
history, literature, philosophy, art history, crit- 
icism, ethics, and social sciences approached 
from a humanistic perspective. Kaplan says 
NYCH's documentary grants "were justified 
by the humanities content of the films fund- 
ed." 

The list of NYCH-funded projects is a ver- 
itable "who's who" of documentary film, 
including names like Ken Burns (The 
Brooklyn Bridge), Barbara Kopple (American 
Dream), Marlon Riggs (Ethnic Notions), 
Kathe Sandler (A Question of Color), and 
Greta Schiller (Be/ore Stonewall) . 




"I'm devastated. Completely devastated," 
says Kopple. "Without the council you're not 
going to see films that have life, a true vision, 
and a different sensibility. Young filmmakers are 
nor going to be able to explore. Veterans aren't 
going to be able to continue their work." 

Joe Dorman, director of the NYCH-support- 
ed Arguing the World (which recently grossed 
$50,000 at New York's Film Forum), says public 
foundations like NYCH give an imprimatur to 
projects that helps attract other flinders. 
"Organizations like NYCH and the NEH are 
interested in intellectual content, not a point of 
view. They are crucial hinders." 

While Kaplan calls the situation "hopefully 
not permanent," NYCH has a big funding hur- 
dle to overcome. Unlike the New York State 
Council on the Arts (NYSCA), NYCH receives 
no state monies and is funded almost entirely 
by the NEH, which has passed on its own fre- 
quent budget cuts to the state councils. 
Securing a New York State budget allocation is 
a top priority for Kaplan. His first roll of the 
dice is increasing the council's visibility- within 
the state by introducing New York State 
Humanities Month this October. 

This concept builds on the 1993 designation 
by President Clinton of October as National 



Arts and Humanities Month. 
NYCH will join other humanities 
councils around the country in 
holding a kind of festival to show- 
case the council's work within the 
state. Two new grant categories — 
October Event Grants, for the cre- 
ation of new events, and October 
Program Grants, tor programming 
news events — will be awarded 
under the condition that all events 
and programs occur in October. 
Phillip M. Katz, NYCH's Program 
Officer, says the council hopes to 
give away $25,000 in each category 
(possibly less for Program Grants). 
The project was announced in a 
press release explaining the cuts in 
media grants by citing declining federal support 
and by alluding to a "crisis in the humanities." 
"There are many forces diminishing the 
humanities in the lives of most people," Kaplan 
explains. "In the face of so many media, from 
traditional ones like movies and recordings to 
radio and the Internet, there are incredible 
sources of competition. The traditional book is 
being overwhelmed. Literacy and familiarity 
with the written word is markedly on the 
decline. We must pay more attention to finding 
more resources, because we're up against 
incredible odds. One way to do that is so say, 
'We're the ones who brought you State 
Humanities Month.' " 

Film is competition for the humanities? 
Richard Pena, Program Director of the Film 
Society of Lincoln Center and a former NYCH 
board member, dispels the notion. "There's 
always competition for scarce funds," Pena says. 
"I don't know of any humanities scholars who 
will say a work that's well-researched and well- 
executed is less a valid if it's on film than if it's 
in a book or examined in some other field. I cer- 
tainly never heard anyone suggest that at the 
council." 

Other priorities are also changing at NYCH. 
Culturefront, a glossy magazine aimed at a par- 



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ticular humanities theme for each issue, will 
be published four times yearly instead of 
three. Funding for the magazine comes from 
NYCH's program budget, not its grant bud- 
get. But because financial statements for 
1998 are not yet available, it was impossible 
to discern whether any funding was shifted 
from grants to programs in support of that 
endeavor. Funds to pay 
for teachers who will 
provide humanities 
instruction to other 
teachers in New York 
classrooms, a program 
NYCH has supported 
in the past, are also 
being increased. Asked if he found it para- 
doxical that NYCH had cut media grants 
due to the need for state funding only to 
devote more of its scarce funds to a tradi- 
tionally governmental responsibility like edu- 
cation, Kaplan bristled. 

"Humanities education is in a terrible 
state and needs as much help as it can get. 
Most teachers are teaching humanities sub- 
jects they know nothing about, like Chinese 
history and Islam. I don't know how you 
weigh these things. There was a concreteness 
to these teachers. There was a hope the films 
would find other avenues of support." 

Dorman has conflicting feelings about this 
choice. "As a filmmaker, I'm interested in 
having as many funding streams as possible. 
But I'm a former teacher and having kids 
educated in schools is a big concern. I don't 
envy the choice." 

Pressed on NYCH's future commitment 
to media, Kaplan's pain over the decision is 
clear. "Filmmakers serve a wonderful educa- 
tional function. I believe that artistic com- 
munity needs to be nurtured and supported if 
the humanities is going to be successful in 
what it does. I very much love that field, and 
it's a shame we don't have the resources to be 
active in [it.]" Kaplan returns to visibility, 
specifically the council's own visibility within 
its funded films. 

"Frequently we would give more money 
than a local corporation but get less credit 
because we were a government entity. If we 
funded someone for $10,000, and it ended 
up to be a million-dollar project," says 
Kaplan with palpable exasperation, "we were 
listed below all the other funders. Our visi- 
bility in film was infinitesimally small. We 
were doing yeoman's work. Films were taking 
a large percentage of our budget, and we 
were making a very small contribution to the 



"Filmmakers serve a wonderful 

educational function... I very much 

love that field, and it's a shame we 

don't have the resources 

to be active in [it.]" 

— Dr. Jay Kaplan, NYCH executive director 



documentary community. We had to look at 
that critically and say 'Is this the best invest- 
ment of dollars?' We've never made a priority of 
supporting the art of filmmaking because we're 
not an arts council." 

But there's a difference between finding the 
best investment for your money and deciding 
not to invest it at all. NYCH could have rewrit- 
ten its grant rules any way 
it desired, but it chose to 
eliminate film grants en- 
tirely. The council could 
have limited its funding to 
one large grant for an out- 
standing film project 
being completed, or kept 
to its current strategy of providing start-up 
funds but limited the total to two or three 
grants. 

"It's very expensive to review grants," 
Kaplan explains. "There's no economy to 
reviewing dozens of proposals to give away only 
one or two grants. We felt you either do this 
right or you don't do it. Dabbling doesn't meet 
our own standards." 

"I completely disagree" says Kopple. 
"$25,000 for a documentary takes you a long 
way. But so does $5,000, or $6,000. It says to 
others, 'This isn't a dream. It's real.' Any 
amounts out there to keep the craft going are 
going to be hugely important to the makers." 
As to Kaplan's suggestion that filmmakers 
could apply for October grants to host film 
screenings and discussions, Kopple says, "It's all 
well and good to be talking about screening 
existing work. But I want to move forward. I 
think the emphasis should be on funding new 
work." Kopple believes filmmakers would glad- 
ly assist NYCH in addressing its visibility con- 
cerns if only given the chance. "Credit should 
be discussed as part of the grant acceptance. 
Documentarians would have absolutely been 
open to giving the council greater input into 
their credit. We want to support them in the 
way they support us, because it means so 
much." 

Dorman calls on the council and documen- 
tary filmmakers to sit down and find a solution 
together. "It's incumbent on the filmmaking 
community to convince the council we're wor- 
thy of being funded in the future, that we're an 
important part of the humanities community. 
We need to help shore up the council, to find 
out what they need from us, for our own good, 
the council's good, and the good of the human- 
ities all across New York." 

Mark J. Huisman [cinernark(Qrnmdspririg.corn] is a 
New York-based writer and independent producer. 



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Want Scripts, Will Pay: 

KASA Reels in Screenwriters 

with Big Money 

Kingman Films International [www.kingman- 
films.com] is teaming with Script magazine to 
give away a cool million to a handful of screen- 
writers. A four-year-old Los Angeles produc- 
tion company, Kingman is looking for "com- 
pelling stories unaffected by Hollywood formu- 
las," according to the company's press materi- 
als. With its King Arthur Screenwriters Award 
(KASA), which they hope to make a biannual 
competition, the company is offering up to 1C 
winners a cut of $ 1 million in prize money and 
the chance to see their scripts produced. 

The first KASA competition — organized in 
1996 as a way to find quality writing that would 
establish Kingman's indie credentials — drew 
3,000 entries from both amateurs and estab- 
lished writers. In 1998, Kingman has joined 
forces with Script in the hopes of attracting an 
even wider pool of applicants. Though 
Kingman helmsman Arthur Chang maintains 
that his goal is to fortify fresh stories by inde- 
pendent thinkers, the competition is also a way 
for Kingman to bypass Hollywood agents and 
middlemen and purchase marketable scripts 
directly from their authors. 

"It's a wonderful opportunity for screenwrit- 
ers," says Script's marketing manager, Kim 
Ropp. "You don't have to be an established 
screenwriter with an agent. You can be a 
screenwriter anywhere, and you have the 
opportunity to bypass the agent [and the] 
Hollywood system and get a wonderful, charac- 
ter-driven script made." 

Though still new to the scene, Kingman has 
stood by its promise to get KASA scripts 
onscreen. Frontline, Kingman's first feature pro- 
ject by 1996 finalist Quinton Peoples, is slated 
for release this spring, and three more of 1996's 
winning projects are currently in preproduc- 
tion. Of course there's no guarantee that win- 
ning scripts will make it into multiplexes, but 
Kingman's directors see the contest as a princi- 
pal source of material. Professional readers 
review each script and recommend the best to 
the Kingman crew, who then choose up to 10 
scripts to consider for production. 

The 1998 KASA deadline is June 30. For an 

application, send a SASE to KASA, c/o Script, 

5638 Sweet Air Road, Baldwin, MD 21013, or 

call (410) 592-3466. 

Cassandra Uretz 

Cassandra Uretz is The Independent's 
editorial assistant. 



12 THE INDEPENDENT May 1998 



DISTRIBUTOR F . A . Q 




V 



I 




BY 

Li SS A 

G I BB S 

Vanguard 
International 
Cinema 
15061 

Springdale St., 
Suite 109, 
Huntington 
Beach, CA 

92649; (714) 901-9020; (800) 218-7888; fax: (714) 

901-9070; vanguard@moviesource.com; 

www.moviesource.com/vanguard (general site); 

www.rendezvous.net (specialized gay & lesbian 

titles); contact: Freyr Thor, President 

What is Vanguard International Cinema? 

We're an independent video distributor focusing on 
nonmainstream films from all over the world. We oper- 
ate on the simple principle of being a one-stop source 
for lovers of non-Hollywood filmmaking — features, 
documentaries, experimental films, shorts, animation. 
We provide service, knowledge, information, and avail- 
ability of these films on video, laser disc, and DVD to 
anybody who might be interested in them, including 
individuals, video stores, libraries, and schools. We are 
not a theatrical distributor. 

Who is Vanguard? 

There are four key staff members: Me-, Dean Edward, 
Sales Manager; Olga Plateado. Accounting Manager; 
and Shanna Giesber, Office Manager. We also have 
some people outside of the business working in promo- 
tions and graphic services. We all have in common a 
great love of film. For all of us, this is more than just 
"work." 

How, when, and why did Vanguard come into being? 

I founded the company back in 1993 because I felt a 
real need — from customers and vendors — for an enti- 
ty that would focus its efforts on promotion, knowledge, 
and deliverability of nonmainstream movies on video. I 
was previously at a company called Canterbury 
Distribution that attempted to do — to a certain 



degree — some similar 
things to what we now do at 
Vanguard. So I knew the 
video distribution business 
and, more importantly, I was 
very aware that there was a 
need for a reliable and 
knowledgeable video distrib- 
utor of independent film. 

How many works are now 
in your catalog? 

We distribute about 25 titles 
exclusively, but we sell 

15,000 titles in our catalog for other vendors on an ongo- 
ing basis. We are truly a one-stop video distributor 

What kind of works do you handle? 

Our catalog is heaviest in the following areas: foreign lan- 
guage features; U.S. and English-language low-budget, 
independent features; documentaries of all different 
shapes and sizes; gay and lesbian interest works; and 
animation, including packages of animated shorts. Not 
everything in our catalog has originated on film. A lot of it 
has come straight from video. We prefer to handle titles 
that have had some sort of theatrical or semi-theatrical 
release for reasons of saleability and exposure, but it's 
not mandatory. 

Best known titles or directors you handle: 

Well, with 15.000 titles in our catalog, the range is pretty 
broad — from the classics of international cinema like 
Akira Kurosawa, Jean-Luc Godard, Federico Fellini, Andrei 
Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Marcel Carne. and Sergei 
Eisenstein. But we also pride ourselves on carrying cut- 
ting-edge titles by Jon Jost, John Sayles, John Greyson, 
Jane Campion, Barbara Kopple, the Brothers Quay, Gregg 
Araki, and Craig Baldwin. We feel that we represent the 
classic history of cinema and the grassroots of the new 
and upcoming future masters. 

Range of production budgets of titles you handle: 

From $1,000 to $10 million. 

What's the most unusual title you've ever handled? 

We sold a tape called The Lava Lamp which was basi- 
cally a video version of a lava lamp. Then we had a fish 
tank video which basically transformed your television 




screen into a giant fish tank. 

What's the range of production entities you represent: 

We represent larger production entities like Samuel 
Goldwyn, Polygram, Orion (while they lasted), Home 
Vision, Kino, Fox Lorber, New Yorker, First Run Features, 
and others. On the other end of the spectrum we also 
handle titles by individual producers who may only have 
one or two films. We call these the "kitchen vendors" and 
they really do run their businesses out of their kitchens, 
off their kitchen tables. This is the reality of how you start 
and the reality of where everything good comes from. 

What sorts of stores handle Vanguard titles? 

Our typical customers are stores like Kim's Video in New 
York, Scarecrow in Seattle, Vidiots in Santa Monica, and 
Le Video in San Francisco. We also sell tapes through 
Borders Books, Hollywood Video, and Blockbuster, and 
directly to different departments of colleges and universi- 
ties nationwide. Ninety percent of our business is whole- 
sale, 10 percent is consumer retail. 

How do these stores and the general public find out 
about Vanguard's catalog? 

We exhibit at trade conventions for the wholesale market. 
We direct mail a complete annual catalog and monthly 
magazines to individuals and retailers. We have the two 
Web sites, and we do a little bit of advertising in film and 
video magazines here and there. 

What would people be most surprised to learn about 
Vanguard or its founders? 

That we're not 50 people and that each person here is 
basically a whole department. I myself was personally 
surprised at being mentioned as an "Outstanding 



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14 THE INDEPENDENT May 1998 




Business Executive" by Who's Who. Where did that come 
from?! 

If you weren't distributing films, you'd be . . . 

fishing in Iceland. 

What drives the acquisition decisions at Vanguard? 

We have ongoing distribution contracts with companies 
like Fox Lorber, Polygram, and New Yorker, so we basically 
take anything they bring us and solicit it to our customer 
base. No questions asked. When it comes to our exclusive 
and non-exclusive pick-ups from producers who are basi- 
cally self-distributing and who employ us as a licensor or 
as an exclusive distributor, we look closely at production 
value. It is absolutely fundamental that the sound, picture, 
and editing are decent. If they have packaged the film 
themselves — prior to us seeing it — and want to stick 
with that packaging, it better be good, because the key 
buyers out there look first at the packaging. If it's not good, 
they won't even look at the tape. We also have to feel that 
the film is going to be received, understood, and appreci- 
ated by more than just the filmmakers' friends. In the end, 
the decision is basically an instinctual one, and although 
everyone in the office who looks at the film gives me feed- 
back, ultimately it's my decision. 

Where do you find your titles? 

We scout "primary" festivals like Toronto, American Film 
Market, and Sundance, but we also find works at Ann 
Arbor, Telluride, Mill Valley, and Slamdance. 

May independent filmmakers approach you directly 
for consideration? 

Definitely. In fact, an Australian documentarian who 
made a very thorough piece on the history of hemp, Hemp 
Revolution, found us through the Internet. He had had 
some theatrical exposure in the U.S. and we ended up 



selling his film in huge quantities on video. The biggest 
mistake when approaching us is to disregard the pro- 
motional, marketing, and audience ends of the busi- 
ness. There is a market reality to this business, and 
filmmakers often forget about that. 

What is your basic strategy in releasing a direct- 
to-video title? 

Well, that's a two-fold question because you have to 
first separate out those direct-to-videos that come 
from a recognizable studio — a LIFE or a Vidmark, for 
example. The name of the company releasing it carries 




Area 51, a low-budget documentary about America's most 
secret base, benefitted from its tie-in with mainstream 
releases such as ID4, MIB and The X Files, while Loser's 
video sales were aided by its star, La Femme Nikita's Peta 
Wilson, and some positive press blurbs garnered after a 
four-walled theatrical screening arranged by the director. 
All photos courtesy Vanguard. Freyr Thor photo by Dan ci>nstmas 



trust in the market and enables us to promote and 
sell it. Often these kind of works have a name 
attached to them — a star or a director — which 
helps. A direct-to-video title from an unknown 
director with an unknown cast makes it rather dif- 
ficult to sell unless the film has had some festival 
exposure where it might have gotten some awards 
or mentions, or a critic or two might have seen it. 
So the quotes and the festival exposure help us 
present it as a product worth buying. Recently we 
picked up a title by Kirk Harris called Loser, a fea- 
ture film about down-and-out young people in Los 
Angeles with a bit of humor starring Peter Wilson, 
who has since become the star of the television 
series La Femme Nikita, and which got some 
quotes from the LA. Times from a few of the local 
screenings the filmmakers put up themselves. 
Those elements have helped us promote and sell 
the film. 

Vanguard's ideal title to distribute is a film 
that . . . 

has high production value, good writing, and 
preferably features emerging talent, yet has not 
been picked up by Miramax. 

The most important issue facing Vanguard today is. . . 

staying on top of the emergence of new delivery technolo- 
gies and trying to figure out what format will emerge as 
the unifying medium between computers and video play- 
ers. 

In 10 years Vanguard will . . . 

be 15 years old! 

The most compelling reason to have Vanguard handle 
the video sales of your film is . . . 

the know-how and the market access we have. 

Other distributors you admire: 

Home Vision Cinema for its classics restoration program 
and Fox Lorber Video for its ability to find new investors. 

Upcoming video releases to watch for: 

Picnic at Hanging Rock is finally going to come out. Irma 
Vep by Olivier Assayas will be coming out soon. 

Famous last words to filmmakers: 

Think about your audience. 

Distributor F.A.Q. is a column conducted by fax question- 
naire profiling a wide range of distributors of independent 
film and video. If you are a distributor and want to be pro- 
filed or are a maker and want to find out more about a 
particular distributor, contact Lissa Gibbs c/o The 
Independent, 304 Hudson St., 6th fl., NY NY 10013, or 
drop an e-mail to: lissa@sirius.com 

Lissa Gibbs is a contributing editor to The Independent and 
former Film Arts Foundation Fest director. 



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TALKING HEADS 



I 



STAN BRAKHUE 

COMMINGLED 
CONTAINERS 

by Jeremy Lehrer 



For proof that experimental filmmaker 
Stan Brakhage remains a cultural potentate, 
one need look no further than the latest rumi- 
nations from a chorus of younger voices. On 
the most recent Stereolab album, Dots and 



achieved a groove in his artistic process. "At 

the time this happened," he recalls, "I had 
come to where I thought probably I'm only 
going to paint on film tor the rest of my life." 

Following surgery and chemotherapy, 
Brakhage, now 65, has been told he has a clean 
bill of health and has returned to photograph- 
ing and scratching films, two techniques 
among many the filmmaker has used through- 
out his career. And he continues to teach at 
the University of Colorado at Boulder, where 
he has been on the faculty for a decade. His 
filmmaking method typically involves complex 
cvcles of painting, scratching away film emul- 
sions, and printing. While it is possible to find 
paints that do not have coal-tar dyes, Brakhage 
is now wary of any kind of painting on film, 




Loops, the title of the first track is "Brakhage," 
and painter Philip Taaffe's latest book, 
Composite Nature, is actually a conversation 
with Stan Brakhage. 

While Brakhage is a light for artists of all 
stripes, the Promethean task of realizing his 
cinematic vision was not without burden. In 
1996, Brakhage was diagnosed with a form of 
bladder cancer caused specifically by coal-tar 
dye, which the filmmaker used to paint on film. 
The discovery came when Brakhage had 



explaining that the cancer has "given me a 
kind of aversion — understandably — and I 
don't want that to get into my work process." 

Brakhage's oeuvre comprises hundreds of 
films, including Dog Star Man, Anticipation of 
the Night, and The Text of Light. His projects 
have ranged from 8mm work to Dante's 
Quartet, a four-part IMAX film which 
Brakhage painted at the behest of his inner 
muse. In his work he has considered life's full 
compass, circling from daily rituals to questions 
of existence. His films have an unparalleled 



richness that evoke the roots and myths of 
human experience. 

Brakhage has considered mortality 
throughout his work, but the subject had a 
blazing immediacy when his prognosis was 
uncertain. Following exploratory surgery, 
Brakhage shot four or five hours of footage, 
which he edited into one piece before under- 
going final surgery to remove his cancer. In 
the film, called Commingled Containers, 
Brakhage's lingering gaze savors his own skin 
and the flesh of nature that surrounds him. 

Another current project is Congenial 
Meninges, a collaboration with Boulder col- 
league Phil Solomon, in which the two 
attempt to capture "the grace of dancing, 
most specifically the kind of grace generated 
by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers." 

Brakhage has confronted praise, adula- 
tion, and "a lot of antagonism" throughout 
his career. "There are many things that 
occurred first in my work," he notes. "Not 
only occurred, but occurred in a meaningful 
context, or have a grammar. So, like my work 
or not, people have to pass in tangent to it." 

Brakhage likens the avant-garde and 
experimental film movements to poetry, 
especially in terms of their subtle but 
inevitable influence on the mainstream. 
"The poets' shifts of language have fed and 
influenced the whole shift of language, which 
is very crucial to prose writers," he explains. 
"So independent films, which I take to be a 
corollary of poetry, are always affecting the 
narrative dramatic movies made by 
Hollywood or anyone else." 

Like much experimental work, however, 
Brakhage's films are often difficult to find. 
While not wanting to make their work inac- 
cessible, he and other filmmakers worry that 
"video reproductions" will not do their films 
justice. Nonetheless, Dog Star Man has been 
available on video from Mystic Fire Video for 
some time, and recently Brakhage agreed to 
release a number of other films through the 
New York-based Arthouse Inc., a multimedia 
production and distribution company now in 
its second year. "I would have preferred them 
in 8mm," Brakhage says about the release of 
Songs I -14, though he admits that the 
"reproduction" of Anticipation of the Night 
"turned out beautifully." 

Brakhage's ambivalence toward video car- 
ries over to other technologies, and he wor- 
ries that digital production and editing tech- 
niques will distance artists from the essential 
human touch in the process of creation. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT May 1998 



Regarding computers, Brakhage has said, "If 
it can't face death, then nothing interesting 
is going to come out of it." And while some 
claim that film is dead, Brakhage vehement- 
ly disagrees. "They're just not aware, appar- 
ently, of the activity, which is greater among 
those interested in the art of cinema than it 
was in the sixties by far," he says. "We have 
many more people passionately devoted to 
film." 

As an unwavering devotee of the art of 
cinema, Brakhage will undoubtedly keep the 
fire burning. 

Brakhage's works are available through Canyon 
Cinema (415-626-2255), Filmmaker's Coop (212- 
889-3820), Mystic Fire Video (800-292-9001), 
and Arthouse Inc. (212-979-5663). 

Jeremy Lehrer (exodus(a ix.netcom.com) is a free- 
lance writer lit'mg in New York. 



ODETTE SPRINGER 

SOME NUDITY REQUIRED 

by Cara Mertes 



Odette Springer had a problem. A few 

years ago, she found herself in a career rut, 
doing things she loved for projects she hated. 
After five years, she wanted to leave the 
company, but it seemed like she couldn't stay 



away. 

A familiar story, perhaps? Not entirely, 
because Springer was working for B-movie pro- 
ducer/director Roger Corman scoring low-bud- 
get "erotic thrillers" — movies with titles like 
Strip Tease 111, Slumber Party Massacre 111, and 
Naked Obsession. A classically trained musi- 
cian, her greatest successes were in writing and 
performing hard-core erotic lyrics, and the 
more she liked her job, the more disgusted she 
became with herself. 

Being in the movie business, Springer decid- 
ed to make a documentary exploring the roots 
of her conflicted relationship with her work. 
She didn't know it at the time, but Springer had 
just entered a five-year journey through movie- 
making hell. The result is Some Nudity Required. 
a fascinating chronicle of Springer's career in 
B-movies and her attempts to reconcile a trou- 
bled past with a better future. Part film history 
and part video diary, the feature-length docu- 
mentary successfully walks a fine line between 
the maudlin and the remarkable, as we follow 
Springer's exploration, as she says, "of the com- 
plexity of people's relationship to sex and vio- 
lence," using herself as the primary evidence. 

Examining sex and violence is an ambitious 
task for any filmmaker, but this is also 
Springer's first film. Like many who start on the 
road to telling ,i personal story on film, she had 
no idea it would take her several years, much of 
her money, and a dedication bordering on 




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obsession to finish the piece. Driving her was a 
central question, almost a mission. "Everybody 
will tell you that exploitation is bad. It doesn't 
take a genius. So why do we watch it?" Springer 
asks. "This is not just an issue with B-movies. It 
is an issue for A-movies and for society at 
large." 

Armed with a camera, a question, and on- 
the-job access to one of the most successful 
erotic thriller production companies in 
America, Concorde Productions, Springer 
descended into the surreal world of B-movies, 
where all men are potential rapists and mur- 
derers and all women are chesty, young, and 
born to be killed. It is, as several interviewees 
state in the film, a world that centers on the 
ceaseless production of male fantasies about 
domination, submission, humiliation, pleasure, 
and fear. 

"I went into the [B-movie] industry with 
very strong opinions about the exploitation and 
degradation of women, about paying people for 
the work they do and not taking advantage of 
them, things like that," Springer explains. "And 
I watched myself become someone else. I com- 
pletely sold out." As she became increasingly 
confused about her work and her values, 
Springer noticed that other people around her 
were confused as well. Chief among these was 
Maria Ford, the beautiful, introspective young 
star of over 30 thrillers who sees B-movies as a 
training ground for an acting career in main- 
stream films. Ford speaks movingly about the 
contradictions she feels playing some of the 
roles, while at the same time acknowledging 
that she is exploiting the B-movie system to 
build a career. Her poignant, soul-searching 
interviews with Springer ground the film firmly 
in the emotional complexities of working in the 
industry. 

Springer realized early in the editing process 
that this wasn't simply a "making of" piece, and 
she began to think about ways of telling the 
story differently. Interested in breaking the tra- 
ditional documentary form, Springer and a new 
team of collaborators, including filmmaker 
Johanna Demetrakas (co- director), and Kate 
Amend (editor) , decided Springer would be the 
main character, making Springer's narration 
and re-enactments of her evolving fantasy life 
the film's most important narrative line. 

The film unfolds as Springer invites viewers 
into her own growing fascination and repulsion 
with the B-movie clips she has to watch again 
and again in her work, and viewers join her in 
thinking about their own often ambivalent 
reactions to the material. With such a personal 



18 THE INDEPENDENT May 1998 




approach, the film becomes much more than 
an amusement park tour of erotic thrillers. It 
succeeds in balancing Springer's own process of 
discovery (including the devastating memory' 
of long-forgotten sexual abuse as a young girl) 
with surprisingly non-judgmental portraits of 
the people she encounters. 

As Springer's story develops, the film also 
introduces viewers to the machinations of the 
multibillion dollar B-movie industry. In inter- 
view after interview, producers (including the 
dissembling Roger Corman himself), directors, 
actors, agents, and writers provide an unforget- 
table, remarkably candid glimpse of the pas- 
sions and prejudices behind the creation of 
these financially successful, deeply perverse 
films. 

By now, you may have guessed that the end 
of the story is a happy one. Springer left her job 
at Concorde, finally found financing for the 
film she wanted to make through private 
investors, and she is currently juggling theatri- 
cal distribution offers for Some Nudity Required, 
as well as planning for a cable broadcast and 
video and educational distribution. She is also 
touring college campuses with the film, which 
she says is great. "Students are much more 
open about their reactions than older people," 
she reports, and for Springer, it is when viewers 
tell her that they are turned on by the sexuali- 
ty and violence in the documentary and think 
about their own contradictory reactions that 
she feels she has succeeded. In a country as 
deeply hypocritical in its attitudes about sexu- 
ality as America, Springer's smart attempt at 
an honest approach is a tonic. 

Some Nudity Required, c/o Springer, 12515 Pacific 
Ave., Ste. 203, L.A., CA 90066; (310) 313-3418; 
fax: 446-0664. 

Cara Merles is an independent producer, teacher, and 
writer. She is currently series producer of the documen- 
tary series American Originals for Clio Inc., Visua- 
izing History, a New York-based media company spe- 
cializing in melding new media, history, and education. 



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SFX: DEAFENING APPLAUSE 

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AUSTIN 

FILM FESTIVAL 





WHO THE HELL IS JULIETTE? 

by Michelle Chase 

"IT'S A TRUE STORY," THE PROMOTIONAL MATER- 
ial for Who the Hell Is Juliette? proclaims proud- 
ly. But is it? The movie follows the lives of two 
young women: the Mexican model Fabiola and 
the Cuban teenager Juliette, for whom the film 
is named. The characters are obviously "real," 
but some of the lines seem scripted, some of the 
scenes seem staged. But that's what lends 
charm to Mexican director Carlos Marcovich's 
genre -bending first film. 

"Real life is a better script than anything I 
could write," says Marcovich, who met the 
young Juliette while filming a music video in 
Havana in 1993. "All the characters are real 
people, and all the stories they tell are true. But 
the film isn't really a documentary to my way of 
thinking, because a lot of it exists in my imagi- 
nation. On the one hand, the Juliette we see is 
real, she already exists. But I also had to work 
with her to make her into my Juliette, the one I 
wanted to star in a movie about a girl who does- 
n't have a father. In that sense it's something 
fictional that I created. 

"Also, I think a documentary in general is 
informative," the former cameraman continues. 
"This movie isn't informative at all, it's more 
emotive. That's why I say it's 'fiction filmed 
live'." 

Although the film has a strong storyline — 



first fleshing out the lives of the two young 
women, then following their respective 
searches for their fathers — Marcovich did all 
the shooting without a script. "The only 
thing I did was take notes on certain subjects 
so I wouldn't forget what had happened," he 
said. "Sometimes people would tell me things 
and later forget them, so I had to remind 
them, ask them to retell them [on film]. 
Because that was my job, to compact things, 
to help them sum up their own stories." 

Condensing the footage into a coherent 
90-minute movie was no easy task: after 18 
weeks of shooting spread out over two years, 
Marcovich was left with over 50 hours of 
footage. The action takes place in four cities 
(Havana, New York, Mexico City, and 
Michoacan) in three countries. Unin- 
tentionally (because it was originally 
Marcovich's idea to capture a young girl on 
the cusp of adolescence), the audience 
watches Juliette grow from a bubbly child to 
an assertive, almost fully-grown woman. 

The background subject matter was no 
easier to tackle: during filming ('95 through 
'97) Cuba went through its most difficult 
period in decades. To the director's credit, he 
neither exaggerates Havana's poverty nor 
shies away from uglier aspects of life on the 
island, such as Juliette and her friends pick- 
ing up Italian tourists out of necessity ("You 
have to sleep with them, or they won't give 
you food," Juliette says matter-of-factlv.). 

In some instances, Marcovich went 
beyond observation, as when he arranged a 
surprise meeting with Juliette's long-absent 
father in order to catch her reaction on film. 



20 THE INDEPENDENT May 1 998 



"That was a risk I decided to take," Marcovich 
admits. But he denies ever having worried that 
the encounter might have been a shock for the 
teenager. "Anyone who knows Juliette knows 
that a thing like that could never hurt her," he 
says firmly. 

The director's gambles seem to be paying off. 
The film has done well on the international cir- 
cuit: it opened Los Angeles' first Latin 
American film festival this past October, played 
half a dozen European festivals, and won the 
Latin America Cinema Prize at the Sundance 
Film Festival. After screening at Telluride in 
December, Kino International decided to dis- 
tribute the film in the U.S. (It began its release 
on April 3 in New York City.) 

Marcovich hopes Juliette will do well upon 
commercial release in Mexico, perhaps by 
appealing to younger audiences. Working in the 
film's favor is its distinct difference from 
Mexican films made in recent years, which, 
according to Marcovich, usually focus on the 
picturesque small-town life that is no longer a 
reality for many Latin Americans. 

Aside from being thematically ambitious, 
the making of Juliette is also turning heads in 
Mexico. Faced with a troubled economy and a 
film industry that has fallen on particularly 
hard times, most Mexican directors today 
depend on direct support from the government 
film entity, Imcine. "Part of what the film is 
about is a different way of producing," says the 
35-year-old director, "a way to be independent 
without negating the possibility of incorporat- 
ing money from those sources that have it." 
While Marcovich eventually received some 
money from Imcine, the bulk of funding for 
Juliette came from other sources: a university's 
film studio, a European film fund, and individ- 
ual donors. Filming cost about $150,000 and 
postproduction another $400,000. "My dream 
is to finance my next movie entirely with the 
proceeds from Juliette, Marcovich says. 

Although he may attempt something com- 
pletely different for his next film — perhaps a 
more conventional effort with a script — 
Marcovich intends to stay loyal to independent 
production methods. "People always think film 
is so strict, unlike other arts, because of the 
amount of money involved," he says. "They 
think you can't change anything, can't modify, 
improvise. But as long as it's a low-budget pro- 
ject, you have the right to experi